Love Island was watched by the smallest audience for a series launch episode in four years, on a night when thrilling action at Euro 2020 and Wimbledon provided stiff competition for the eagerly anticipated return of the reality show.
After an 18-month Covid-enforced break, 这 much-hyped return of the summer edition of Love Island could only manage an average audience of 2.47 million viewers, according to figures from overnights.tv.
This was well below the season premiere of the last pre-Covid edition in 2019, which managed 3.3 million, and is the lowest rating launch episode since 2017.
The show, which has attracted more than £12m in sponsorship deals and commands up to £100,000 per advertising slot, struggled in a night of high drama in Euro 2020.
Kicking off at 8pm, the shock departure of France at the hands of Switzerland provided direct competition for Love Island, attracting an average audience of 7.5 million and a peak of 10.5 million during the penalty shootout. ITV also aired the earlier clash between Spain and Croatia.
On BBC One, Andy Murray’s return to Wimbledon, in a tense four-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili, attracted 3.4 million viewers between 7pm and 10pm.
ITV will not be overly concerned about the lacklustre launch of Love Island as the show tends to benefit from a significant uplift from catch-up viewing and streaming, which are not captured in the initial live overnight figures. The show still gave ITV2 its biggest audience of the year so far in terms of viewing on the night.
With Euro 2020 running for the next two weeks ITV would expect to see a higher proportion of catch-up viewing than normal as football fans put live sport first, with Love Island due to run through the summer.
ITV will be pleased at being able to squeeze extra ad breaks into the clashes as France/Switzerland went to penalties and Spain/Croatia was resolved in extra time. The broadcaster has said that Euro 2020 and Love Island will make the most ad revenues for June and July in the broadcaster’s history.