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BBC claims sports viewing victory over Sky

The BBC claims it was the most-watched sports broadcaster in the UK last year, despite only showing 2% of sport on television.

Based on internal BBC stats from its marketing and audiences division, the broadcaster claimed it notched up 40% of all sports viewing last year compared to second place Sky Sports with 31% – despite Sky being responsible for 44% of all sports output, compared to the BBC’s 2%.

The BBC said that its coverage of the Wimbledon tennis tournament was its most watched sporting event in 2013, hitting a ten-year high of 35.5m views (61% of the population).

Its Premier League football highlights show Match of the Day was its second biggest sports success with 30.2 million viewers (53%), followed by Formula One with 27.8m viewers (48%) and Six Nations Rugby with 24.5m (42%) – a nine year high.

However, the BBC conceded that in pay TV homes, Sky came out on top, taking a 43% share of sports viewership to the BBC’s 30%.

“Newcomer BT Sport, which launched in August after a huge investment of £738m for live Premier League rights, is gaining ground but still lags a long way behind Sky. BT claimed 2% of all sport viewing with its 18% of the output,” said the BBC.

Earlier this month Sky said it delivered a record 55,000 hours of sport last year across its six channels and Sky 3D. It claimed that its sports output represented a 12% year-on-year increase, with its football coverage in particular attracting record viewing figures.