Consolidated audience figures for the so-called Super Sunday, when Britons could pick between the World Cup Cricket final, the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles final and the British Grand Prix have been published.
According to Barb 23 million viewers tuned to one or more of the events.
The weekend was unusual because all three events were available on free-to-air channels after Sky allowed Channel 4 to broadcast the England-New Zealand cricket match. The decision reignited the debate over the lack of televised cricket that has seen the national team absent from British screens since 2005.
The ECB lobbied to be removed from the list of ‘crown jewels’ allowing Sky Sports exclusive rights to the game. But while money has undoubted been invested, there are concerns that fewer people are taking the sport up.
5.2 million watched on a free-to-view channel; 96% of those did so via Freeview.
Another 3.5 million watched on one of the Sky channels.
Formula 1 has also pursued a pay-TV strategy.
“The BARB numbers underline what difficult choices sports such as cricket have. Sky and other pay-TV services give fantastic financial support to sports by paying top dollar,” Jonathan Thompson, CEO of Digital UK, which leads the development of Freeview. “But if you want to ensure the longevity of our traditional sports, and enthuse a wider social mix of people, including those who may not be able to afford to pay for telly, then these audience numbers show the way to do it.”
Super Sunday Free-to-View Audiences
Total audience: 8.7m
C4 audience: 5.2m (on any platform, free or pay)
C4 audience split: 3.3m free-to-air, 1.9m pay (64% vs 36% pay)
Freeview audience: 3.2m (96% of the FTA audience)
Total audience: 3.5m
C4 audience: 2.6m
Freeview audience: 1.7m (two thirds of the FTA audience)
Total audience: 9.6m (BBC1 on any platform)
Freeview audience: 5.2m (54%)