Germany's first match at this year's FIFA Women's World Cup picked up an audience of more than 18 million viewers in the tournament's host country, according to organisers of the event. Defending champions Germany defeated Canada 2-1 in Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Saturday watched by an average audience of 15.3 million viewers and a peak of more than 18 million.
The previous record TV audience for a women's match was just over 10 million viewers for Germany's 2003 Women's World Cup final victory over Sweden, according to Reuters.
Sunday's match on ARD claimed double the audience that tuned in to watch German driver Sebastian Vettel win the European Formula One Grand Prix in Valencia on the same day, reports Sport Business.
"This is an outstanding figure which we never expected," read a statement from German Football Federation president Theo Zwanziger.
"Our expectations were exceeded by several million viewers."
Ralf Sholt, ARD's programming chief for the Women's World Cup, described the viewing figures as "fantastic" and "pure madness".