BBC achieves record audiences for Rio 2016 Olympics


The BBC achieved a record television audience for an overseas Olympic Games as 45.24m people tuned in for Rio 2016.

A total of 11.1m people watched Jason Kenny win keirin cycling gold on BBC One, while BBC Two and BBC Four had their highest viewing figures of 2016, according to figures supplied by the corporation.

BBC Sport’s online coverage also set new records, reaching 68.3m devices in the UK and 102.3m globally, with the biggest single day for digital traffic on the middle Sunday of the Games when it attracted 19m unique browsers across the world.

That date became known as ‘Super Sunday’ after Great Britain won five gold medals, making it the country’s most successful day at an overseas Olympics.

Cyclist Mark Cavendish helped BBC Two reach a peak audience of 7.5m when he won silver in the omnium on Monday, 15 August, while BBC Four drew in a 2016 high of 3.4m viewers.

A total of 29.3m global browsers have followed the Games in Rio via live pages on the BBC Sport website and app with streams, text updates, clips, medal tables, schedules and catch-up.

The BBC’s most popular streamed event was the men’s singles tennis final, in which 1.9m browsers followed Britain’s Andy Murray as he retained his Olympic title by beating Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.

The total of ‘unique browsers’ is calculated by the number of devices – televisions, computers, mobile phones and so on – being used to view online coverage, which is why it was possible for the UK digital audience to total 68.3m, even though that is greater than the country’s population.

Commenting on the figures, Barbara Slater, BBC’s director of sport, said: “We are delighted that so many people came to the BBC for our Olympics coverage and joined us in celebrating the extraordinary success of Team GB.

“We are incredibly proud to bring moments of national significance such as these magnificent Games to the widest possible audience.”

Ben Gallop, BBC Sport’s Head of Digital and Radio, says: “Building on the legacy of London 2012 and the phenomenal success of the first digital Olympic Games, BBC Sport’s digital service has provided coverage on an unprecedented scale during Rio 2016.

With Team GB performing heroics, we wanted to deliver all the medal moments and breath-taking action to audiences wherever they were online – and in doing so we’re delighted BBC Sport has cemented its position as the number one digital destination for sport.”

The Rio 2016 Games were the final Olympics to be shown exclusively by the BBC, with Eurosport taking over primary rights from the next Winter Olympics in PyeongChang 2018, including full digital and online rights, while the BBC will only have access to a reduced number of live streams alongside its usual network TV coverage.

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