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Volume 10 No. 25
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BBC Wraps Up Olympics Coverage With Its Best Ratings Of The Games

The Closing Ceremony of the London Games proved to be an even bigger hit than the Opening Ceremony "with more than 23 million viewers" tuning in, according to John Plunkett of the London GUARDIAN. The Olympics "bowed out with a total average audience of 23.2 million viewers" between 9pm BST on Sunday and the early hours of Monday morning. This includes 22.9 million viewers, "a huge" 80.7% share, who were watching on BBC, with another 202,000 glued to one of the BBC's dedicated Olympics channels, BBC Olympics 1, and 83,000 watching in 3D on BBC HD. It was a sign of the appeal of the Olympics' final act that some 18.5 million viewers were still tuned in at midnight. Sunday's Closing Ceremony "delivered to BBC1 a huge" 51.9% share of the all-day audience between 6am on Sunday and 2am on Monday, more than double its typical share of viewing. ITV1's biggest audience of the day was its live coverage of Man City's 3-2 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield. The traditional opener of the football season "had an average of 1.73 million viewers, a 14.2% share, between 1pm and 3:50pm, with a five-minute peak of 3.07 million" (GUARDIAN, 8/13).

In London, Plunkett also reported that nearly 16 million viewers watched Great Britain diver Tom Daley clinch an Olympics Bronze Medal, on Saturday including 6.6 million on BBC3, "the channel's biggest-ever audience." Daley's third-place finish in the men's 10m platform diving final had a five-minute peak of 7.7 million viewers on BBC1, 6.6 million on BBC3 and another 1.6 million viewers on BBC Olympics 1 at 9:50pm on Saturday, a total of 15.9 million. BBC3's evening Olympics program "averaged 3.6 million viewers, a 16.1% share" between 8pm and 11pm (GUARDIAN, 8/13). The PA's Anthony Barnes reported that "the figures crown a series of huge audience figures achieved during the Games." The biggest "blockbuster among the sporting events" during the London Games fortnight was Usain Bolt's triumph in the 100m final a week ago with 20 million tuning in, while 17.1 million watched Mo Farah take the 10,000m Gold. BBC1 Controller Danny Cohen said, "It's been a phenomenal Games and Team GB's amazing achievements have helped draw huge audiences to BBC1 and put the channel right at the heart of the action" (PA, 8/13).

Also in London, Plunkett reported the BBC's coverage "was watched by 90% of the U.K. population," delivering what Cohen described as the "largest TV audiences since the pre-digital age." A total of 51.9 million people watched at least 15 minutes of the London games on BBC TV. The Games reached "90% of the population," which topped the 81% who watched at least 15 minutes of the 2002 World Cup, the 69% who watched the Queen's diamond jubilee earlier this year, and the 61% who watched last year's royal wedding (GUARDIAN, 8/13).

GERMANY: The VOLKSSTIMME reported that "ARD's broadcast of the London Games Closing Ceremony attained a 33.7% market share." The coverage, which started at 10pm CEST was watched by 5.76 million viewers (VOLKSSTIMME, 8/13).

FRANCE: reported that TF1's broadcast of the Closing Ceremony "was largely ahead" in terms of audience. A total of 5.1 million viewers tuned in for a 40% share. The peak audience even reached 6.5 million at one point (, 8/13).

The EFE reported that the men's basketball final between Spain and the U.S. was the "most-watched event in the history of the sport" in Spain with an average of 5.4 million viewers and a 44.9% share. It was also the most-watched London Olympics sporting event. The "golden minute" occurred at 6:01pm local time when 6.5 million people were tuned in for a 52.7% share (EFE, 8/13).