Snooker Scores Massive Viewing Figures

The World Snooker Championship achieved fantastic viewing figures both on the BBC and in China.

The tournament was widely regarded as one of the best in recent memory, concluding in a pulsating final as John Higgins beat new star Judd Trump 18-15 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

The peak viewing figure on BBC, which came just after 10pm, was 6.6 million, the best figure in the past five years.

Average audience for the final session was also well up: 3.9 million, over 50% higher than last year.

Over 27.1 million watched the event in the UK - that's nearly half the UK population.

In China, the second session of the Ding Junhui v Judd Trump semi-final was the highest rated sports programme of 2011 to date, achieving an average audience of 19.4 million, peaking at nearly 30 million.  In all 55.9 million households tuned in to watch.

During the Championship, six programmes on CCTV 5 in China achieved average audiences of over 10 million, while five had peak audiences of over 20 million.  CCTV 5 was one of 7 broadcast networks showing the World Championship in China alone.

Ticket revenue for the tournament was also up on last year, by over 15%.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "There was a sense at the Crucible that something very special was happening, with the arrival of Judd Trump as a sensational young talent, and of course the brilliance of John Higgins in winning his fourth World title. The atmosphere was like nothing I have experienced in snooker before. I'm delighted to see that reflected in the viewing figures.

"Snooker has come a long way in the past year and it's wonderful to see the public appetite for the sport growing, both domestically and overseas. We're now pushing on towards next season with plenty of new events globally. For the fans, there has never been a better time to support snooker."