European Athletics has said a total television audience of 358 million watched the 2014 European Athletics Championships, which took place in Zurich from August 12-17.
The cumulative figure, which excludes news audiences, has been collated from reports by the European Broadcasting Union consortium of European free-to-air broadcasters and sports marketing research company Repucom.
European Athletics said the figures compare favourably with those for recent editions of its showpiece event. Göteborg’s 2006 European Athletics Championships drew an audience of 340 million and Barcelona’s 2010 event 368 million.
Göteborg 2006 was held over seven days while Barcelona 2010, like Zurich 2014, was held over six days. By contrast, the 2012 Championships in Helsinki had a total cumulative audience of 156 million, but this event included a shortened programme due to being held in an Olympic Games year.
European Athletics added that broadcasters produced 1,677 hours of live, deferred, highlights and magazine coverage for Zurich 2014.
European Athletics president Hansjörg Wirz said: “These excellent TV figures show the continued importance of our sport on the continent. We expected a drop in the audience between Barcelona 2010 and Zurich 2014 taking into account the respective sizes of the national markets, but the audience has held up incredibly well.”
The EBU also delivered a report on the average audience per minute during transmission of the championships – a more qualitative measurement that European Athletics said it plans to use in the future.
The report on average audiences, which are based on live, delayed and highlights transmissions during the daytime, included only the same 25 countries that broadcast the championships in 2006, 2010 and 2014. These were: Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
Zurich 2014 had an average audience of 11.6 million across the 25 markets. This is an increase of 3.2 per cent in the average audience between Göteborg 2006 (11.26 million) and Zurich, and is almost on par with Barcelona 2010 (11.87 million).
The next edition of the European Athletics Championships will be hosted by Amsterdam in 2016.