Published: 10.17 Europe/London, May 17, 2011

The Dutch premium football channel Eredivisie Live is claiming a record audience for the weekend finals of 1,198,000 excluding people who watched in pubs and public venues.

This is the first time that the number of viewers exceeded one million. There was big interest in the game between Ajax and FC Twente as the outcome would decide which of the two clubs became this season’s champions. Ajax had to win in order to beat last year’s winner, FC Twente. In the end, Ajax won 3-1 marking the 30th time that the Amsterdam club had been crowned Eredivsie champions.

As live coverage was only available on the Eredivisie Live channel, here was also a big demand for the pay-per-view service. Cable operator Ziggo experienced problems fulfilling last-minute orders. According to a spokesperson for the operator, in the end about 50,000 people purchased the game. However, Ziggo estimates around 75,000 people were interested in seeing the live broadcast.

The online streaming service of Eredivisie Live was also not able to cope with the demand, which exceeded the website’s capacity. As a result, local media says many people turned to illegal streaming websites to see the game. Interestingly, Eredivisie Live recently took legal action against a number of these illegal sites.

Meanwhile, at UPC Nederland there were no problems fulfilling the pay-per-view orders. Thanks to the interactive set-top box, UPC customers can order a la carte games using the red button without having to go to a special website or call a service centre