The Cricketer understands that the 7.25pm cross-platform peak for England’s extraordinary Super Over triumph came in at 8.16 million viewers
The World Cup final generated peak viewing figures of 8.3 million across Sky and Channel 4 platforms as England clinched the trophy for the first time in the history of the men’s competition.
Competing with the men’s final at Wimbledon, where Roger Federer was taking on Novak Djokovic, and the British Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton won for a record-breaking sixth time, the numbers represented a landmark day for English cricket.
The Cricketer understands that the 7.25pm cross-platform peak for England’s extraordinary Super Over triumph came in at 8.16 million viewers.
However, BBC still came out on top in the ratings battle, with the tennis peaking at an audience of 9.6 million viewers at 7.05pm as a thrilling five-set encounter between two of the sport’s all-time greats reached its climax.
When England beat Australia in the semi-final at Edgbaston, it was announced that Sky, who held the rights to the tournament in the UK, had agreed a deal with Channel 4 that would see the flagship final broadcast on free-to-air television, as well as on Sky’s platforms.
With Channel 4 hosting coverage of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone as part of a separate one-off content-sharing arrangement with Sky, England’s home World Cup final began on Channel 4, before moving over to More 4 to accommodate the Formula One showpiece. Once the race had ended, the conclusion of the cricket returned to Channel 4.
Meanwhile, Sky broadcasted it uninterrupted on Sky One, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Cricket. Close to 6,000 fans watched on a big screen in Trafalgar Square, while many others watched at pubs and cricket clubs.
Ben Stokes was named as man of the match in England's World Cup win
England’s 31-run win over India – a must-win group stage game that also took place on a Sunday – only garnered a peak audience of 1.78 million viewers, highlighting the impact of free-to-air television even in an increasingly digital world.
Channel 4’s coverage peaked at 4.7 million viewers on Sunday as international cricket appeared on free-to-air television for the first time since 2005.
BBC Sport’s live cricket page racked up 39.7 million page-views – a figure 4.3 million greater than the 2017 general election – a previous high for a BBC News Online page.
“It’s wonderful that the whole nation can come together to share these momentous British sporting events thanks to a fantastic partnership between Channel 4 and Sky,” Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said.
Sky UK and Ireland chief executive Stephen van Rooyen added: “We’ve been proud host broadcasters of a home Cricket World Cup, dedicating a channel and showing every single minute, which has been absorbing from the first ball to the unforgettable final delivery.
“Sunday saw a peak across Sky and Channel 4 of 8.3 million – a huge audience for a huge moment for British sport. On Sky’s channels our peak was 3.5m alone, a fitting way to cap a terrific tournament.
“We are proud of our long-term cricket partnership, which has grown over three decades, delivering record investment into the sport. This partnership will continue with our coverage of the men’s and women’s Ashes this summer, and by working with the ECB to deliver a new grassroots cricket participation campaign.”
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