BBC2 in a winter Olympics wonderland as it beats ITV in the weekend ratings battle

BBC2 gets an audience twice its normal size for the opening weekend of the Sochi Winter games

The Winter Olympics has proved to be a sound investment for BBC2 after the channel attracted more viewers than ITV over the weekend.


BBC2 pulled in a 14.3% average share of the audience across the whole of Sunday and a 9.7% share on Saturday – beating ITV’s share on both days. On Saturday, ITV had an 8.2% share and on Sunday it had 11.4% all day according to the overnights.

The highlight was snowboarder Jenny Jones’ win, the first snow-medal for the Great Britain team in the history of the Winter Olympics, attracting an audience of 3 million on Sunday morning.

The BBC2 coverage of the opening ceremony pulled in an audience of 2.5 million, a 16% share watching as athletes from 87 nations paraded in front of 40,000 people in the Fisht Stadium before president Vladimir Putin declared the Games open.

At a cost of £30bn, the Sochi Games is widely believed to be the most expensive Olympics in history.

The channel’s strong performance was welcomed by BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow who said: “It’s great to see BBC2 shining as the television home of the Winter Olympics and I’m delighted that such large audiences have joined the channel to enjoy the amazing coverage and celebrate wonderful moments such as Jenny jones’ incredible medal win.”