World Cup breaks German records, hearts

Semifinal nabs 31.1 million viewers

BERLIN — Spain’s 1-0 semifinal conquest of Germany on Wednesday set a new ratings record for Teutonic pubcaster ARD as 31.1 million viewers tuned in to experience the agony of defeat and see their dreams of a World Cup victory dashed.

It was the first time in history that German television saw the 30-million mark breached.

Prior to Wednesday’s match, which achieved a market share of 83.2%, the highest-rated televised event in Germany had been another heartbreaking World Cup match: Germany’s 0-2 semifinal defeat to Italy four years ago, which was seen by 29.66 million viewers (84.1%).

The biggest TV turnout so far during this year’s tournament had been Germany’s 1-0 victory over Ghana on June 23, which drew 29.3 million viewers and a 79.6% share.

Fellow pubcaster ZDF scored the biggest share during the World Cup with 89.2% during the July 3 game between Germany and Argentina. The afternoon match, in which the young Teutonic team destroyed the South American hopefuls 4-0, pulled in 25.95 million.

Broadcast in Spain by Telecinco, the semifinal scored 13.3 million viewers and a 77.3% share, becoming the highest-rating program ever on Mediaset’s broadcaster Telecinco.

The Germany-Spain match proved the third most-viewed TV program since Spain began to measure TV auds in 1992 after the Eurovision song contest final in 2002 (14.3 million) and Euro 2008 penalty shoot-out between Spain and Italy (14.1 million).

The semifinal was also broadcast by Spain’s top pay TV operator Digital Plus services Canal Plus Liga and Canal Plus, which added respectively 423,000 (2.5%) and 295,000 (1.7%) viewers for a 14 million (81.5%) total audience.

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