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Sunday, 18 June, 2000, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
BBC wins soccer ratings battle

Total match viewing figures reached nearly 18 million
The BBC has won a head-to-head Euro 2000 battle with ITV, drawing nearly 11.8 million viewers for the England v Germany in Belgium.

But ITV says the "Des factor" helped it to narrow the traditional head-to-head gap between the two channels, increasing its viewing figures to 6.1 million during the match coverage from Charleroi.

ITV spokesman Paul Tyrrell said: "Des Lynam is the best sports broadcaster in the business and we are convinced he brings an added dimension to our coverage."

BBC Sport spokesman Mike Hales said the viewing figures were "hugely satisfying" for the broadcaster, which from next year will show all of England's competitive matches live on BBC TV.



The 'Des Factor' worked for ITV
The total terrestrial viewing figures for the game were 17.9 million, down on the 23.8 million who watched Germany beat England in the Euro 1996 semi-final at Wembley.

For that game, 26.5% choose ITV's coverage over the BBC's, while Saturday's Euro 2000 match drew 34.1%.

The 1998 World Cup final between France and Brazil was watched by 22.2 million viewers in the UK, with 29.7% tuning in to ITV.

Mr Hales added: "The previous meeting between England and Germany was a semi-final, which makes a good deal of difference, but this was a crucial game.

"Now the vital game on Tuesday is exclusively live on BBC and we will see what happens then."

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See also:

17 Jun 00 | England
Keegan: The dream lives on
17 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Portugal into the quarter-finals
17 Jun 00 | Euro2000
England v Germany clockwatch
17 Jun 00 | Photo Gallery
England v Germany in pictures
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