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Euro 2004 scores online

Euro 2004 proved a massive hit on the Internet this year, but the real online champion was the BBC, according to figures released by web measurement body Nielsen/Netratings.

The BBC's Euro 2004 website peaked at over 1.2 million unique users for the third week of the contest when England was still in with a chance of winning.

And according to the BBC's own internal figures, the online live commentary feed for the England v Switzerland match, which kicked off at 5pm when many fans were still at work, also broke the corporation's record for the most popular streaming event.

In fact, more people listened to the live commentary of the match than have ever listened to a single online audio stream of any other radio broadcast.

Ben Gallop, BBC Sport's online editor, said: "Euro 2004 was a massive event for everyone at the BBC Sport website.”

"As well as covering all the action as it happened and providing distinctive journalism, we put a real emphasis on innovation for this tournament, particularly with our Virtual Replay application.

"So it's hugely gratifying to know that the extraordinary efforts that the team put in have resulted in such strong audience figures."

Uefa also hailed its official site as its most popular to date, with over 40 million visitors and half a billion page views worldwide since it launched on March 31st.

The site, which is available in nine languages, proved popular across the world with over half of its traffic coming from outside Europe, where matches were more difficult to watch on television.

The chief executive of Uefa new media, Alexander Fourtoy, said: "Euro 2004 is a European event but the traffic figures show that the tournament is followed by a global audience. We are delighted that the site has been used by millions of fans around the world to keep up with the action in Portugal."

For the first time Uefa launched a paid-for video highlights service for broadband users.

Available immediately after the final whistle, the governing body said the service received over 2 million visits during the course of the tournament.

During the entire tournament, the BBC’s site had an average of a million football fans checking its site every week.

Sky Sports scored with about 400,000 visitors, and Yahoo Sports took third place with about 300,000.

The Uefa site was the only one to attract almost as many female fans as men, whereas the Sky Sports site netted a mere eight per cent of women.

The BBC site was also the most successful in luring people of all ages. About 47% were aged 25 to 44, while 12% were under-24.

Uefa was the most successful at getting younger fans to their site, with 24% of them under-24.

Older fans, over-45s, veered more towards Sporting Life, AOL Sports and Sky Sports.

Sources: BBC Online, Guardian

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