17m choose BBC for World Cup final

The BBC has recorded its highest World Cup final ratings result, beating ITV by five viewers to one.

The Italy v France match was broadcast simultaneously on BBC1 and ITV1, but it was the BBC which emerged the clear winner, with a 60.8 per cent share.

Seventeen million people tuned into BBC1 to watch the final — the largest World Cup final audience for 25 years.

The BBC had 300 accredited staff in Germany covering the tournament.

The BBC's director of sport, Roger Mosey, told Press Gazette: "During this World Cup, in all media, when there's been a choice, people have opted for the BBC. It is partly due to our tradition, that the BBC is there for the big occasions, but it has a lot to do with the talent as well.

"Gary Lineker is the best sports presenter in the UK. It's interesting that all our quantitative research says that John Motson is still seen as the best sports commentator in the UK, but you have this funny thing sometimes where the blog world says one thing, but mass audiences are saying something very different."

For the first time, the BBC decided to broadcast all its World Cup games live on broadband, and according to Mosey the venture was a success.

He said: "We were averaging 500,000 audiovisual requests online every day.

Its still comparatively small compared with television, but for a first shot, we were very pleased with it.

"There was all that talk beforehand, saying that we were going to make the UK internet collapse, because we were going to put so much demand on the system. So the main thing was that it was a very successful trial and we managed the demand for it."

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