Still a lot of eyeballs to play for over the final 10 days or so of Euro 2016! This week we take a look back at the round of 16 matches as well as the reaction to the exit of both Irish teams and England, and how this might impact viewership for both RTE and TV3.
A whopping 83% of people watching TV on Sunday afternoon, were tuned in to watch our defeat to France. To put that in context, that’s higher than firm family favourite, the Late Late Toy Show (72% share in 2015), often the most watched show of the year. Below, we have analysed the viewership figures for all of the Republic of Ireland’s matches in Euro 2016 to see how they stack up against each other:
The highest audience for the recent Rugby World Cup in September 2015, was for Ireland’s win against France. An average of 1.15m tuned into TV3 on that occasion. In many ways, this shows just how far rugby and TV3 have come in this country, gaining huge popularity with viewers. At the same time, only the Republic of Ireland’s match against Belgium, in Euro 2016, dipped below this figure which clearly shows that football and especially big tournament football still wins more hearts of fans in Ireland.
In fact interest levels in Euro 2016 games were still very impressive, even when our beloved nation was taking a rest. Livewire has shown below the top 15 games, excluding Ireland matches (which were of course the top 4). 11 of the top 15 games had an 8pm kick-off, showing that it’s the time of day rather than merely who’s playing which is drawing in the fans. Four of the top games were at 5pm but all of these aired on the weekend. This shows just how much TV audiences are impacted by scheduling decisions in major tournaments.
Despite the high levels of interest in the tournament, one might expect that the elimination of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and England will have an impact on TV viewership for the remainder of the tournament. In our research 26% of Republic of Ireland fans identified Northern Ireland as their second team before the tournament started while 18% identified England as their second team, so this could potentially affect interest levels.
However, when assessing the viewing figures of the quarter-finals from Euro 2012, this gives us an insight into potential healthy viewership levels for both RTE and TV3 for the remainder of the tournament. With both channels showing the final, it will be interesting to see the differences in audience figures on Sunday week.
While there was no round of 16 in 2012, the figures above, and to date, indicate that we should expect an increase in average viewership figures for the quarter finals in Euro 2016 versus 2012. The consistent 8pm kick off times from now, will become even more important in this context. It remains to be seen whether we will adopt neighbours, Wales or everyone’s favourite underdog, Iceland!
In 2012, the figures for the semi-finals topped 500,000, increasing to 780,000 for the final between Spain and Italy. Therefore for brands and sponsors alike, there are still plenty of eyeballs to play for. Particularly, as the broader Irish fans fall off, the younger male footy fan is sure to stay engaged. And all brands and TV buyers alike, will tell you just how elusive young fellas are to reach. It’s all still to play for!
Social media reaction
As expected Twitter chatter accurately reflected the excitement and disappointment of the match against France.
Team and tournament sponsor Carlsberg received significant engagement for its quick tweet, becoming the top tweeted handle in the process. The use of a famous and endearing phrase was a touch of class from the brand while simultaneously touching the emotions of the Irish fans.
While not doing much to build brand affinity with its English customers, this tweet is an example of a non-sponsor cashing in on a big tournament moment. Not always easy to do. The combination of being nimble and smart usually involves planning for the unexpected.
Still, nothing beats celebrity. Yet again one of Gary Lineker’s tweets top the charts. He couldn’t have said it any better (there are approximately 130 volcanoes in Iceland).
32% of those who said that they would watch the tournament thought that Ireland would be eliminated in the round of 16. In terms of our neighbours, the majority (53%) of people believed that Northern Ireland would be eliminated in the group stages with 30% thinking that they would be knocked out in the round of 16. England were the team that most people thought would go furthest with 32% of us thinking that they would make the semi-finals and only 17% of us thinking that they would be eliminate in the round of 16.
Wales have been one of the success stories of the tournament and with Belgium up next the 16% of Irish people who predicted that Wales would be knocked out in the quarter finals may see their prediction comes through.
Despite the allure of the Premier League and the virtual wall to wall coverage provided by Sky Sports and BT Sports, our analysis has shown that there is still a big place left in our hearts for both the national team and tournament football in general. The expanded tournament seems to have been welcomed by fans, and has been very positive from a broadcaster perspective too. It is estimated that an extra €500,000 of ad money was committed to RTE last weekend alone. Next for Ireland are the World Cup qualifiers which begin in Serbia on September 5th. COYBIG!!!