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World Cup: BBC scores a win with viewers

Lukas Podolski plays football with his his son Louis Gabriel Podolski after the final. Picture: Reuters

Lukas Podolski plays football with his his son Louis Gabriel Podolski after the final. Picture: Reuters

  • by CRAIG BROWN
 

THE majority of the watchers tuned in to the BBC, which drew in four times more sports fans than rival ITV.

The final few minutes of the match, which saw Germany pip Argentina to the title in extra time, prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to jump for joy as Mario Götze’s winning goal went in.

She later congratulated the team as they went up to be presented with their medals and trophy, as well as posing for a selfie photo with them: her picture with Podolski received more than 80,000 retweets.

The final in Brazil broke records with the most tweets per minute of any event. There were 32.1 million tweets about the match worldwide, around 618,725 per minute, official figures from Twitter showed.

Facebook too confirmed that several records had been broken, with the social media giant recording over 280 million interactions during the final, breaking the previous record set during Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 and making it the biggest sporting event in the site’s history.

More than 88 million people were using Facebook to talk about the final, including more than five million in Germany and seven million in Argentina.

Prime Minister David Cameron took time out from reshuffling his Cabinet team to congratulate Ms Merkel by text message.

He sent the text after watching the thrilling last half-hour of the match, which saw Germany seize their fourth World Cup title – and their first since reunification.

“The Prime Minister texted his congratulations to the German Chancellor after Germany’s victory last night,” said the spokesman, who declined to reveal the message’s wording.

An average of 12.09 million viewers tuned in to watch the BBC’s advertisement-free coverage, with 2.86 million opting to watch ITV’s broadcast instead.

A peak audience of 20.64 million tuned in, making it the biggest UK TV audience since the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.

German-themed pubs and bars across Britain were filled with delighted ex-pats celebrating into the early hours. At the Zeitgeist pub in London’s Vauxhall district, several hundred fans of Die Mannschaft erupted with joy at the final whistle, starting a party that went on long into the night.

Philip Naggert, from the German city of Bielefeld, joined many fellow countrymen celebrating in Trafalgar Square. He said: “I feel amazing, I can’t believe we won this. And Götze scored, it is incredible, it’s the best feeling ever.”

Meanwhile, a top figure in an illegal ticket-scalping scheme has surrendered to Brazilian officials four days after police labeled him a fugitive.

Ray Whelan is a British executive with the Match group, which owns the rights to sell World Cup hospitality packages. Whelan’s lawyer says he surrendered to a Rio de Janeiro judge.

 

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