A TV audience of the Euro 2020 final peaked at 30.95 million viewers, overnight figures show.
Ratings peaked during extra time in the match between England and Italy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, which was broadcast on both the BBC and ITV.
An average of 29.85m watched the whole game, according to the figures.
Broadcast on both the BBC and ITV, the combined figure makes it the highest TV audience since the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.
While England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved two of the Azzurri’s spot kicks, the Lions’ striker Marcus Rashford hit the post before Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka had their spot-kicks saved to hand Italy victory.
“You can cut ratings in so many different ways and audience measurement has changed over the years, but safe to say this: it is among the biggest audiences in UK broadcasting history,” said Deadline’s international editor Jake Kanter.
To give a recent comparison, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement announcing strict new coronavirus restrictions in March last year was watched by more than 27 million, the highest audience in recent history.
In footballing terms, the highest ratings before Sunday’s figures were released came from the West Germany v England semi-final at the World Cup in 1990, watched by 25.2 million.
That also featured a painful penalty shootout exit for England.
The official audience for Sunday’s match may rise when those who saw it via catch-up services are taken into account.
The majority of people watched on BBC compared to ITV by a factor of more than four to one. The figures include those watching on ITV+1.