BBC Baking Competition Beats Soccer Match in TV Ratings

The Great British Bake Off - H 2012

"The Great British Bake Off" has been an audience hit for the BBC Two channel.

LONDON – The Great British Bake Off, a hit on the BBC Two channel, on Tuesday night drew higher ratings in the U.K. than a Manchester United soccer match on ITV, confirming the baking competition's drawing power.

In the 8 p.m. time slot, Bake Off, which is in its fourth season, drew an average audience of 5.6 million, for a share of 23.3 percent of all people watching TV in Britain at the time.

That was the show's second-highest viewership the season. The latest episode peaked with an audience of 6.1 million. In the show, participants compete to find out who the best amateur baker is.

Meanwhile, powerhouse soccer club Manchester United's first game in the Champions League European club tournament aired on ITV in the 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. time slot, averaging 4.6 million viewers, or a 19.6 percent share. The match against Germany's Bayer Leverkusen peaked with 5.8 million viewers.

Bake Off started in 2010, with its second season experiencing a ratings boost.

The show has been so successful that at the recent Edinburgh TV Festival there was talk that the BBC might move it to its flagship BBC One channel, which typically draws a bigger audience than BBC Two.

Twitter: @georgszalai