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Power of public broadcasting as Olympic viewing figures soar

Football News 24/7
Whilst subscription channel Sky dominates the UK's top sport - football - the power of public broadcasting was brought to the fore last night.

Over 17 million viewer tuned in to see Mo Farah win gold in the 10,000 metres in the Olympic Stadium.

Earlier, 16.3 million had seen Jessica Ennis triumph in the heptathlon and 15.6 million watched as Greg Rutherford won the long jump.

Roger Mosey, the BBC’s director of London 2012, today tweeted: “Stunning figures for last night’s amazing athletics.”

The figures last night were the three highest viewing peaks for Games sporting events so far, with even more expected to tune in to see Usain Bolt in tonight’s 100m final.

Previously, more than 11.3 million had seen Rebecca Adlington win bronze in the 800m swimming final.

The opening ceremony was viewed by 26.9 million. Last month, 17.1 million had watched Andy Murray’s emotional Wimbledon defeat to Roger Federer – with millions again expected to tune in for their Olympics final re-match today.

Meanwhile, a peak of 23.2 million had watched the Euro 2012 football championship.

So far, 84% of the audience have watched some part of the Olympics, and overall figures are expected to surpass those of any previous Games.

In contrast take F1 earlier this year: Viewing figures from the first race weekend of 2012 indicated a fall of over a million viewers in the UK.

There was no live free-to-air coverage of the race in Britain. The race was shown live on Sky while the BBC broadcast highlights later in the day.

Sky declined to issue details of their TV audiences for their F1 programming over the race weekend when asked by F1 Fanatic.

Their first F1 broadcast attracted a peak audience of 1.02 million viewers.

This represented a fall of over 2 million compared to the figure recorded by the BBC for last year’s live race.

The BBC reported a peak of 3.2 million people watched their highlights programme, over one million more than their repeat of the race in a similar time slot attracted last year.

Combining the figures suggests around one million fewer people in the UK watched the first F1 race of the season, a fall of over 20%.

And even April's  top-of-the-table Barclays Premier League clash between local rivals Manchester City and Manchester United which attracted a record-breaking subscription audience could only manage four million viewers. 

KJ


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