This past weekend, sports fans were well and truly spoiled for choice as the action-packed summer heated up once again with major sporting events such as the British Grand Prix, Men’s Wimbledon Final and Cricket World Cup Final all being televised on free-to-air television at similar times.  


Source of audience data: BARB

Cricket: The World Cup Final

The Cricket World Cup Final was spread across multiple channels over a long period of time. The first slot was from 09:00 to 13:10 on Channel 4. The match started at 10:40 and averaged 1.7m with 32% aged 65+ and 70% Males.

Coverage then switched to More 4 while Channel 4 went to the F1. This averaged 950k and peaked at 1.2m.

The match returned to Channel 4 at 16:45 and ran to the end at 20:15. This then averaged 2.5m viewers and peaked at 4.8m at 19:30 which was 23% of the viewing public. Aged groups 45+ accounted for 68% of the viewers with 70% of these being Males & 37% in the AB bracket.

  • In total, the Channel 4 coverage of the live match averaged 1.8m viewers from the first ball to the last and peaked 5.3m.
  • Cricket World Cup Final on Sky Sports Cricket averaged 622k across the live play period. This has 72% of Males 4+ with ABC1 accounted for 71%. The cricket was also on Main Event which drew 669k for the live play and also Sky One which drew 498k viewers. Overall the Sky coverage averaged 1.8m across all 3 channels and peaked at 3.6m. This means that the overall peak across Channel 4 & Sky was a staggering 8.3m.

Tennis: Men’s Wimbledon Final 

The Men’s Wimbledon Final proved to be the most popular of the three major sports on Sunday, even up against the home interest of England playing for the Cricket World Cup and Hamilton going for a record 6th win at Silverstone. The longest ever men’s final between Djokovic and Federer was televised on BBC 1 and ran from 13:50 to 19:35 generating an average of 6m viewers, peaking at 10.3m towards the end of the match, which was 50% of the viewing public. Females had the largest share with 57% and ABC1’s accounted for 64%. The peak audience for the cricket was at 19:28 and for tennis it was 19:07. It’s most likely that viewers were switching over to watch the cricket as it reached its climax.

F1: British Grand Prix 

  • F1 on Channel 4 ran from 13:45 to 16:45 with the live race from 14:10 to 15:35. The live race part averaged 2.7m.
  • F1 on Sky Sports F1 ran from 14:05 to 16:00 and looking at the live race times averaged 842k. Sky televised the cricket on their other channels so the British Grand Prix was only visible via their dedicated live channel.


Interestingly, the most viewed UK sporting programme of the year was the Women’s World Cup semi-final between England and the USA, with an estimated average audience of 8.8m and a peak audience of 11.8m.

The total TV viewing on Sunday was 15m compared to 22m when the Women’s World Cup semi-final was on during the peak time evening slot. Live sport on television carries huge weight still and it’s interesting to see how much of an impact different time slots can impact viewership numbers. Had the weekend’s events been scheduled to finish later – similarly to the Women’s World Cup semi-final – it’s likely that the viewership figures would have been even higher across the board.

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Source of audience data: BARB