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BBC: Olympic closing ceremony draws 26.3M viewers

Monday - 8/13/2012, 2:14pm  ET

LONDON (AP) - The BBC said Monday that its live coverage of the Olympic closing ceremony was watched by 26.3 million people in the U.K., or more than 80 percent of the country's audience share.

The broadcaster said in a statement that coverage on its flagship terrestrial channel, BBC1, peaked at 26 million on Sunday night, easily beating the previous U.K. audience record for an Olympic closing ceremony _ the 11 million viewers who watched the ceremony in Barcelona in 1992. The BBC's high-definition and 3D coverage Sunday added another 300,000 viewers.

The massive television audience was bolstered by 3.9 million people who watched the opening ceremony live on the BBC's website or through its online playback service, iPlayer.

Overall the BBC reported that 55 million viewers had logged on to its sports website over the course of the games, which ran from July 27 to Aug. 12, with an average of 9.5 million browsers for each day of the games.

Sunday's television figures were slightly down on the opening ceremony which kicked off the games on July 27. The Danny Boyle-directed opening extravaganza drew 26.9 million viewers at its height.

The BBC's four main domestic channels are distinct from its international rolling news service, BBC World News, or services such as BBC America, which brings popular British shows such as "Top Gear" and "Dr. Who" to U.S. audiences.

In the United States, the Olympics were broadcast by NBC.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)