Rugby World Cup Clash on ITV Becomes Most Watched Sporting Event of Year in U.K.

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Saturday's match between old rivals England and Wales drew an average audience of 10.4 million and a peak viewership of 11.6 million.

The Rugby World Cup on ITV on Saturday night drew the highest U.K. ratings for a sporting event this year.

An average audience of 8.3 million, or a share of 38 percent of total TV viewers at the time, tuned in to ITV's coverage of the crucial Rugby World Cup pool match between old rivals England and Wales. ITV said Sunday that made it the most watched sporting event of the year in Britain and the highest-rated rugby match since the final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Between kickoff and the final whistle, Saturday's game had an average audience of 10.4 million, or a 46 percent share. The ratings peaked with 11.6 million viewers and a 49 percent share, with ITV saying that was the biggest peak audience for a sporting event in Britain since the 2014 Soccer World Cup.

The ratings beat out last week's opening match of the Rugby World Cup between England and Fiji, whose ratings had come in ahead of the final of the FA Cup soccer tournament, which drew 7.5 million viewers.

The Rugby World Cup takes place every four years like the soccer World Cup and runs through the end of October.

ITV management has said the Cup coverage will help its share of viewing in Britain, and analysts have also highlighted the rugby tournament as a key revenue contributor this year.

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