The final of snooker’s Betway UK Championship scored a peak viewing figure of 2.5 million on BBC Two earlier this month.
The titanic clash between Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan, which Selby won 10-7, attracted a peak audience which was 800,000 higher than last year’s peak of 1.7 million.
The average audience during the final session was 1.7 million – an increase of 300,000 on 2015.
There was also an increase on online traffic on snooker content on the BBC Sport website, with 2.9 million browsers during the tournament, up 300,000 on last year.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “These figures underline the growing popularity of our sport in the UK. The Betway UK Championship final in York was an all-time classic with an incredibly high standard so it’s no surprise that the figures are so high. We look forward to working closely with the BBC on bringing our sport to an ever expanding audience.”
Meanwhile, last week it was announced that senior referee Jan Verhaas has been elected to join the WPBSA board.
Following the decision taken by Alan Chamberlain to step down from the board on medical advice, Verhaas stood for election for the first time – he received 14 votes in favour and four against.
Verhaas has enjoyed a distinguished career as a professional referee on the Main Tour for in excess of 20 years, notably having become the first person from outside of the UK to officiate the World Championship final in 2003.
He has since gone on to referee each of the sport’s ‘triple crown’ finals on at least four occasions, including a record-equalling eight Masters finals in London.
In recent years he has also fulfilled a significant role as a refereeing assessor and, as part of his new position, will play a key part in the advancement of junior referees and tournament officials around the world.
Jan Verhaas said: “I am extremely excited to be joining the WPBSA and would like to thank the members for the support that I have received already.”
“Snooker has been my life since I first began refereeing over 25 years ago, but I am as enthusiastic as ever about the sport and have all of the energy in the world to get on with the tasks ahead of me in this new position.
“In particular it is an honour for me to succeed Alan Chamberlain, who played a key role in the sport for so many years and was an inspiration to me and so many others when I joined the game. He leaves a big pair of shoes to fill, but I look forward to the challenge and cannot wait to get started.”