Defying industry assumptions that viewing figures for sporting events and matches are declining, pan-European sports broadcaster Eurosport has released year-to-date viewing figures on Eurosport Network up 14 per cent compared with 2016.
According to Eurosport, top-class events such as The Championships from Wimbledon, the Tour de France and Roland Garros, featuring some of the biggest names in sport, have captured the imagination of fans in Europe, contributing to the increase.
After Eurosport announced earlier in 2017that every minute of every stage would be broadcast live on its channels, the first nine days of this year’s Tour de France have seen an average of 699,000 viewers watch the event in ten of Europe’s biggest markets (Germany, Poland, Romania, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Spain), an increase of 4 per cent versus 2016. Substantial growth in average audience numbers were recorded in Germany (+18 per cent), Italy (31 per cent) and Norway (+347 per cent).
There has been a 38 per cent uplift in the total number of minutes viewed compared with 2016, with 1.5 billion minutes of action watched on Eurosport’s channels up to and including the ninth stage between Nantua and Chambery.
Fans have also been following the action on Eurosport’s digital platforms more than ever before. Up to and including the tenth stage of this year’s Tour de France, a total of 4.4m visitors (+63 per cent vs 2016) have contributed to an incredible 26.9m page views so far, an increase of 74 per cent versus the same stage in 2016.
Now broadcasting The Championships in a record 36 countries across Europe, Eurosport’s audience numbers have surged favourably to build on a record-breaking Roland Garros over the first week of action from Wimbledon.
Romania (+3 per cent on Eurosport 1 and +92 per cent on Eurosport 2), Netherlands (+40 per cent), Sweden (+251 per cent) and Norway (+165 per cent) have all enjoyed substantial growth compared with this year’s Roland Garros.
Local heroes have played a significant part in the highest ratings recorded by market to date, with Simona Halep’s fourth round victory over Victoria Azarenka the most watched match so far at this year’s Wimbledon on Eurosport. 377,000 viewers tuned in to watch the match on Eurosport 1 Romania on June 10th. Halep’s third round win over China’s Peng Shuai was the next most watched match overall in a single country (248,000 viewers on Eurosport 2).
In June 2017, Eurosport announced it had recorded year-on-year growth of 18 per cent for its coverage of this year’s Roland Garros, with huge increases reported in Denmark (+123), Spain (+60 per cent) and Romania (47 per cent).
“Eurosport continues to defy industry assumptions that viewing figures for sporting events and matches are declining,” asserted Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton. “We believe that if you deliver fans a high-quality product across TV, OTT and online platforms, they will return every time.
“Cycling and tennis are two sports that have extremely passionate fan bases – they are fans that love to support the sport they themselves love. We at Eurosport understand this passion and are always looking to enhance our coverage of both sports. For example, we are showing every minute of every stage from the Tour de France for the first time in 2017 while we see it as a privilege to broadcast a tournament such as Wimbledon to more markets than ever before.
“When you consider we have football, swimming, athletics as well as the fourth Grand Slam of the year from Flushing Meadow over the next two months, Eurosport continues to be the go-to network for fans to enjoy premium sporting content,” he declared.