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BBC’s record-breaking sporting summer

July 25, 2014

With the Glasgow Commonwealth Games currently under way, BBC Sport has reported record digital traffic driven by the major sporting events of the summer so far, including the World Cup, Wimbledon, British Grand Prix and The Open.

  • BBC Sport’s biggest-ever month – with 77.5 million unique browsers in June, beating the previous record of 73.6 million set during the London 2012 Olympics

  • Highest-ever weekly mobile reach – with 8.1 million unique UK mobile browsers during the first full week of the World Cup (16-22 June)

  • Highest ever daily international reach – with 3.4 million unique browsers across all devices after Germany’s demolition of Brazil (9 July)

Since the first major event of the summer kicked off with the World Cup in Brazil (12 June) until the end of The Open Championship (20 July), a total of 96 million unique browsers (62.3 million UK and 37.8 million international) accessed BBC Sport across PCs, tablets, mobiles and connected TVs. This included the biggest-ever month in BBC Sport’s history, with the World Cup and Wimbledon helping to drive 77.5 million unique browsers (50.8 million UK and 28.1 million international), beating the previous record of 73.6 million (49.7 million UK browsers and 24.9 million International) set during the 2012 London Olympics.

The first full week of the World Cup (16–22 June) set the new UK weekly mobile reach record of 8.1m unique browsers, with the biggest week of the summer so far coming during the first week of Wimbledon (23–29 June), where a total of 31.1 million unique browsers (20.7 million UK and 10.4 million international) accessed BBC Sport across all devices.

Growing international reach

Audiences from around the globe turned to BBC Sport’s expert coverage in record numbers, twice breaking the previous record for daily international reach, which stood at 2.9 million unique browsers from last year’s football transfer deadline day (1 September, 2013). News of Luis Suarez’s ban for his infamous bite helped drive 3.1 million unique browsers (1 July), followed by reaction and analysis over Germany’s 7-1 victory over Brazil driving 3.4 million unique browsers (9 July).

In addition, during the two week period where the World Cup, Wimbledon and the British Grand Prix overlapped (23 June–6 July) over 17.3 million unique international browsers visited BBC Sport – a figure only surpassed during the first two weeks of the London 2012 Olympics with 17.5 million.

Live coverage

UK audiences also took advantage of the BBC’s comprehensive live digital coverage across four screens (PC, tablet, mobile and connected TV), with BBC TV streams available on BBC iPlayer and enhanced live coverage, including additional streams and greater interactivity, through BBC Sport.

In total, the BBC received nearly 25 million live video requests across all four events, which is set to increase by the end of the summer with up to 17 live digital streams available for the Commonwealth Games.

  • World Cup: 15.9 million live video requests

  • Wimbledon: 8.1 million live video requests

  • British Grand Prix: 369k live video requests

  • The Open: 1.5 million live video requests

Social media engagement

A comprehensive range of content offered through BBC Sport’s social media platforms, which were incorporated into on-air and online coverage and cross-promoted across other key BBC accounts, also drove record traffic. This included exclusive video, Q&A sessions with presenters and pundits, breaking news, photo-galleries, and behind-the-scenes material.

Key stats include:

  • The BBC Sport Facebook page amassed 1.25 million new fans during the World Cup, becoming the biggest UK sports broadcaster Facebook page with 4.8 million fans

  • It helped the team to engage with a record 6 million unique fans in one week around the World Cup final, topping off an impressive 12 months where the account grew by 2,520 per cent (July 2013-July 2014)

  • On Twitter, @bbcsport will soon pass the 2.5 million fans barrier (currently 2.49 million), owing to unprecedented engagement during the World Cup

  • This was driven by key hashtags, including #bbcworldcup and #myworldcupseat, incorporating social media into dedicated social segments presented by Dan Walker, and also live Twitter hashtag voting via the @bbcmotd account

  • Since launching the BBC Sport Google+ page ahead of the Winter Olympics, it has gone on to attract almost 800,000 followers. This is also the biggest UK sports broadcaster presence.

Chris Condron, Head of Product for BBC Sport, says: “We’re extremely proud of these latest figures as they show how growing numbers of audiences are enjoying BBC Sport’s expert coverage from around the world. We’ve been evolving our technology to provide live digital coverage across any device since London 2012, focusing on what audiences really want: their choice of the BBC’s best live TV, radio and text content from major events at their fingertips, alongside an increased range of interactivity and social media. There’s plenty more to come from BBC Sport this summer with the Commonwealth Games and the new football season, which features the return of the FA Cup to the BBC. We’ll be ensuring audiences can get all the action they want, wherever and whenever they want it.”

The BBC Sport app for mobiles and tablets has been downloaded over 4.5 million times in the UK and has recently added support for Google Chromecast on Android and iOS.

Categories: APPS, Articles, Catch Up, Consumer Behaviour, Mobile, Portable Media, Research, VOD