Scotland and Northern Ireland’s dramatic UEFA Euro 2020 Play-off Finals were watched by record numbers, according to UEFA’s UK broadcast partner Sky Sports. Scotland’s penalty-shootout victory over Serbia in the playoffs nets an average 1.48 million viewers on Sky’s channels after the UK pay-TV network made the broadcast free-to-air.
Earlier, the Europe-based broadcaster has announced that Scotland and Northern Ireland’s crucial UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs final matches will be made available to all viewers free-to-air, allowing fans from both nations to watch the dramatic night that will determine the their fate in the next summer’s rescheduled UEFA European Championships.
The move generates a peak 2.6 million viewers tuned in for the game’s climax at around 10.20pm on 12th November with the game broadcast on the Sky One and Pick channels, garnering a 63 per cent Scottish audience share, making it the most watched programme during that time slot in the country. Sky Sports is also UEFA’s UK broadcast partner for Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland internationals.
Scotland, who have never reached any major tournament since 1998 World Cup, will join Croatia, Czech Republic, England in Group D, set to played in Glasgow and London following the 5-4 penalty shootout win over Serbia. Ryan Christie struck in the 52rd minute, before Luka Jovic headed in an injury-time equalizer to take the match to extra time. Mitrovic had his spot-kick saved by David Marshall.
Meanwhile, Michal Duris’ extra-time goal helped Slovakia to a 2-1 win against Northern Ireland in a Euro 2020 play-off final in front of 1,000 Northern Ireland fans at Windsor Park. The win takes Slovakia though to their second consecutive Euro finals and prevents Northern Ireland from repeating their feat four years ago. The network scored an average of 257,000 viewers for Northern Ireland’s exit.
“This was a night of unforgettable memories for Scottish football fans – and we are delighted to have shared the game with a large audience,” said Sky UK and Europe CEO Stephen van Rooyen. “Making the Scotland and Northern Ireland matches free to air was the right thing to do – we are proud to support football and football fans in these unprecedented, challenging times.”
In Sky Sports’ digital and social media platforms, more than one million viewers watched the highlights of the Scotland and Northern Ireland matches via the Sky Sports YouTube channel, while Sky Sports Twitter channels had more than 1.7 million content views from the Scotland and Northern Ireland matches, with an additional 227,000 views also coming via the broadcaster’s website and app.
In March, UEFA announced that their largest European Championship men’s soccer tournament was called off and will resume after a year due to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The Euro 2020 will now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021. The venues for the said competition to be staged next year confirmed to be the same.