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Friday, 7 January, 2000, 16:19 GMT
Beckham's woe scores with viewers

More than 10m witnessed Beckham's disgrace


More than 10m TV viewers saw David Beckham's sending off during Manchester United's opening match of the World Club Championship, according to early figures.

An average of 10.2m people tuned in throughout BBC One's live coverage of the dramatic clash with Mexican side Necaxa on Thursday night - 41% of the overall viewing audience.

World Club Championship
The match started with 9.8m watchers glued to their screens, and peaked at 11m in the dying minutes.

"Manchester United in the Champions League is now a tried and tested thing," said a BBC spokesman.

Ratings winner

"This competition is totally new and no one yet knows how it's going to go, but these figures are more or less the same as ITV gets for its coverage of the Champions League, other than for the most crucial games."

He added: "Last night was helped by the fact that it was an incident-packed match, so that was probably why people chose to stick with it.


ITV's Carol Vorderman was no match for the BBC's soccer
"It all bodes well for Saturday night's United game, which they really need to win to have any chance of winning the tournament."

Viewing figures for Thursday's game, which started at 8pm, were several million ahead of those for nearest rival ITV, which scored around 8.8m for Carol Vorderman's Better Gardens and 8.6m for The Bill.

BBC One is screening every United match live throughout the competition, while digital channel BBC Choice is showing all 14 games.

Figures for the opening clash, Real Madrid versus Al-Nassr on Wednesday evening, were 40% higher than any previously recorded by the channel, peaking at 120,000.

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See also:
07 Jan 00 |  Football
Beckham receives one-match ban
07 Jan 00 |  UK
Ooh..aah.. count to 10
07 Jan 00 |  Talking Point
Beckham: Help or hindrance?
07 Jan 00 |  Football
'Stupid, outrageous, vicious'

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