Snooker’s Betfred World Championship, which finished on May 1st after 17 days of action at the Crucible in Sheffield, scored increased viewing figures on both BBC and Eurosport.
Mark Selby won the title for the third time in four years, beating John Higgins 18-15 in the final, at the end of a tournament packed with dramatic matches and snooker of the highest quality.
On BBC, the peak audience for the final was 4.2 million, up from last year’s 3.9 million.
Across the whole tournament, the BBC’s average audience was 9% higher than it was in 2016, and the average live audience was 3% up.
Eurosport, which broadcast over 330 hours over the 17 days, registered a peak figure of 2.5m during the final with a total audience reach of over 6.9 million viewers, and an average live audience of one million across the tournament.
The channel, which broadcasts across the continent, reported record average live audience numbers in Poland (up 39% on last year) and Norway (up 14% on last year) while in Spain the average live audience showed a huge increase of 88% compared with 2016.
Selby was the 4/1 joint favourite before the tournament began and duly lived up to his tag by collecting a third world crown in four years.
It marked a record-equalling fifth ranking event of the campaign for the “Jester”, adding to previous triumphs in the lucrative UK and International Championships, as well as the China Open and Paul Hunter Classic.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn will be hoping that the success of the World Championship in terms of viewing figures will carry forward into the start of the new season as the sport heads back to Riga for a fourth successive year, continuing its rise in popularity across mainland Europe.
Hearn said: “We are thrilled with these figures from two of our most important broadcasters.”
“This year’s Betfred World Championship was a fabulous tournament with so many thrilling moments and tremendous matches.
“The production values on BBC and Eurosport have been superb throughout the season.
“We continue to make progress as a worldwide sport and the increased viewing figures on both BBC and Eurosport are testament to our growing popularity both in the UK and across Europe.
“We look forward to working closely with our broadcast partners on further success next season as we bring snooker to all corners of the globe.”
The Betfred World Championship was also broadcast live in Middle East and North Africa, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Mongolia, New Zealand as well as streamed on Facebook Live through North and South America, the Caribbean and Indian Sub-Continent.