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LONDON — A peak audience of 5.7 million U.K. viewers watched Scottish star Andy Murray‘s fourth-round Wimbledon victory on the BBC Monday, providing the biggest peak audience of the tournament day.
His win over Mikhail Youzhny on the famous grass courts in the southwest of London allowed him to reach the tournament’s quarterfinals as peak ratings continued to fluctuate compared to the comparable Wimbledon game days last year. With observers wondering how the early exit of big stars would affect ratings for the tournament, Monday’s five-minute peak, driven by Murray, was up from a 4.1 million viewership high on the comparable Wimbledon Monday last year when Murray didn’t play.
The BBC hasn’t disclosed average overall ratings for its Wimbledon coverage to date, but has shared select peak figures. Most show similar trends as Monday’s data, with ratings peaks for this year’s edition of the tournament up on days featuring Murray matches. After the five-minute peak of the Murray match on BBC One Monday afternoon, the game continued on BBC Two due to a 6 p.m. news program on the flagship channel. BBC Two drew a 4.7 million peak with the match.
Overall, BBC One’s afternoon coverage from Wimbledon reached an average of 3.5 million viewers, for a 35.3 percent share of the overall TV audience at the time, The Guardian reported. BBC Two’s early-evening coverage attracted an average of 2.4 million viewers, for a share of 13.1 percent.
The BBC’s Friday peak audience of 7.1 million was also up from 2012, when the comparable day drew as many as 5.7 million viewers. Again, Murray played on Friday this year but not last year. However, without the Brit playing, Saturday’s BBC peak audience for Wimbledon live coverage sank to 3.9 million, compared with 8.5 million last year when Murray had been in action.
On the opening day of Wimbledon last week, the BBC drew a peak audience of 3.9 million, up 1 million over last year as Murray played on the first tournament day. Last year, he had started his campaign on Tuesday.
Also on Monday, Spanish star Rafael Nadal was knocked out of Wimbledon. Amid a lack of Murray, day two peak ratings this year dropped by 1.1 million viewers to 2.8 million, according to the BBC. The BBC’s day three peak audience jumped 1.7 million last Wednesday to 4.6 million though when, among other matches, Sergiy Stakhovsky recorded a shock win against Roger Federer and Murray also played.
Last year, as many as 16.9 million people in the U.K. watched Murray lose a dramatic Wimbledon final to Federer. It was the highest British audience peak figure for any final at the tournament in more than 20 years. The average audience for the final came in at 11.4 million last year.
E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com Twitter: @georgszalai
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