The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has released viewing figures for the inaugural multi-sport European Championships, which it claims proved “hugely popular” with viewers throughout the continent.
More than 567 million hours of action were viewed across the ten key national markets over the ten days of the first “combined” European event.
The EBU and its members provided approximately ten hours of coverage each day, spanning sports including athletics, aquatics, cycling, rowing, golf, triathlon and gymnastics.
In total, 44 free-to-air broadcasters and partners across Europe and worldwide covered the event, which saw existing continental championships held concurrently for the first time across venues in Glasgow and Berlin.
An EBU press release claimed that "audiences rocketed across the ten days of televised competition with the top average audience across the ten countries totalling 20 million viewers on the closing Sunday.”
It continued: "In Germany, ARD/ZDF reported over 43 million viewers watched at least one broadcast from the Championships.
"The athletics, broadcast live from Berlin, proved particularly popular with over five million tuning in to ARD for the finals on the Sunday, while the women's 4x100m relay reached a five-minute peak of over six million on ZDF.”
Axel Balkausky of ARD commented: "We have reached more viewers than we thought possible.
"The market share of the individual sports have almost doubled compared to single transmissions."
In Britain, the BBC reported a peak audience of 6.4 million with an overall reach of 20 million.
BBC lead executive Ron Chakraborty said: "The European Championships created a lot of buzz.
"You couldn't really miss it across the BBC.
"As a result, it has created far more press and publicity and put a much bigger spotlight on the events than had we just been sharing individual sports."
Federations of some of the “smaller” sports involved in the championships were also celebrating the dramatic rises in their individual viewing figures.
Rowing, which saw a tripling of its like-for-like figures in the Polish market, was among the beneficiaries to comment on the Championships’ success. Matt Smith executive director of the World Rowing Federation (FISA) said: “The massive coverage across Europe’s multitude of broadcasters has been fantastic as this 'aggregation effect' was a cornerstone goal of this first combined European Championships. Our athletes have really relished the major event feel, making these European Rowing Championships really memorable for them.”
Stefan Kürten, EBU director of sport commented: “The EBU, our member broadcasters and the federations took on the challenge of this new event right from the start, with a desire to go ‘all out’ and deliver something really innovative and special for audiences and for the sports.
“We have been fully committed to the concept of the European Championships from the outset as we were convinced that a further loss of relevance for European Olympic sports had to be avoided.
“With over 40 broadcasters offering vast daily coverage of the highest quality, it shows that this has really paid off.
"Only the united power of Europe’s free-to-air broadcasters, the EBU membership, can deliver this kind of coverage and support.”