Wimbledon Final: BBC Scores Biggest U.K. TV Ratings of 2013 With Andy Murray Win

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The peak audience of 17.29 million came in just below the record 17.3 million for the final in 1980.

LONDON -- The BBC said Monday that it drew the highest TV ratings of the year in Britain with its live coverage of Scottish tennis star Andy Murray's Wimbledon final victory on Sunday.

It also exceeded the 16.9 million peak ratings and 11.4 million average ratings for the final last year, which had drawn the biggest British TV audience for any Wimbledon final in more than 20 years. Overall, the match seems to have come in with the second-highest peak rating ever for Wimbledon coverage on the BBC.

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An average audience of 12.1 million viewers tuned in for the Sunday final on BBC One, for a 72.8 percent share of the total TV-watching audience in the U.K. at the time.

The U.K. public broadcaster also said that a five-minute peak audience of 17.29 million people watched the three-set win over Novak Djokovic that ended a 77-year period without a British winner of the men's singles portion of the grand slam tournament. The peak ratings amounted to a 79.6 percent share of the overall U.K. TV audience at the time.

That compared to the biggest-ever Wimbledon TV audience of 17.3 million in the U.K. in 1980 when Swedish star Bjorn Borg beat U.S. rival John McEnroe in a five-set thriller, according to ratings data cited in U.K. media reports.

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The Guardian said that this year's final also drew the biggest average audience of any Wimbledon final since at least 1990, the year when modern-day audience data was first introduced.

The figures top the year's TV ratings chart, exceeding the audience for the Murray semifinal on Friday, including a peak of 13.2 million, and the season finale of Simon Cowell's Britain’s Got Talent, which had drawn an average 11.1 million viewers and a peak audience of 13.1 million last month.

The figures came in below the peak ratings of around 20 million viewers for some big events of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

Murray also had reached the Wimbledon final last year but lost to Roger Federer.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai