An audience of 13 million gathered to see London side Chelsea crowned as Champions League winners after a dramatic 4-3 penalty-shootout victory, broadcastnow.co.uk reports.
Didier Drogba’s spot-kick finally defeated opponents Bayern Munich, with a portion of the millions watching expected to draw inspiration from the match and visit function venues for screenings of the upcoming European championships.
According to pressassociation.com, the viewing figures posted by final broadcasters ITV and Sky dwarfed those achieved by popular shows like The Voice, which only managed 6.5 million on the night. Readings also saw the audience build towards the end of the match, which is no surprise given the manner in which the game unfolded.
The action might have taken a while to warm-up in regular time, but the final started to live up to its hype in the latter stages. Thomas Muller looked to have handed the German side their fifth European cup with an 82 minute goal, only for Ivorian Drogba to head in five minutes later from Chelsea’s first corner of the match; taking the game to extra time at 1-1.
Drogba almost turned from hero to villain in the first 15 minutes of this period after tripping up winger Franck Ribery in the area. This saw Bayern gifted a golden chance to take the lead though the resulting penalty, but former Blue Arjen Robben failed to capitalise; his kick saved by Petr Cech.
Chelsea managed to weather the onslaught from the Bayern attack to take the game to a shootout, where Cech was the hero again; saving kicks from Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger. This set the scene for Drogba to clinch the club’s first European cup win and, much to the delight of owner Roman Abramovich, he duly dispatched.
Aside from the praise delivered to manager Roberto Di Matteo from the footballing world, the hospitality sector is thought to owe the Italian a few words of thanks. The win looks to have provided screening venues with the perfect ramp for Euro 2012 – set to kick-off in just under three weeks.