Joe Utichi is Deadline’s London contributor:
UPDATE, 8:06 AM: The BBC says that the London 2012 Olympics have become the biggest national television event since current measuring systems began. The 51.9M Britons – or 90% of the nation – who tuned in to at least 15 minutes of coverage over the past two weeks outpaced the previous record holder, 2002′s World Cup soccer tournament, which drew 81% of the population. By futher comparison, Queen Elizabeth II’s recent Diamond Jubilee celebrations were watched by 69% of Brits and Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton in April 2011 was watched by 61%. Among the top viewing peaks during London 2012 were the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and gold wins by Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Jess Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Sally Pearson.
PREVIOUS, 3:51 AM: The BBC just announced that Sunday night’s Olympics Closing Ceremony peaked at 26.3M at 9:35 PM UK time across BBC One, BBC HD (3D) and Red Button Olympics 1. The audience average on BBC One throughout the program from 9 PM-12:20 AM was 22.9M. This was an audience share of a gargantuan 80.7%. It was a record BBC audience figure for an Olympics Closing Ceremony. (Previous high was 1992′s Barcelona games with an average audience of 11M and 47% share.) Numbers never dropped below 20M. Coupled with the 12.3M (49.7%) who tuned into the pre-show hosted by Gary Lineker and Sue Barker, BBC One won primetime with a 65.6% audience share. The figures won’t account for numbers watching on big screens provided in pubs and parks across the country. The numbers are just below the show’s opening night which peaked at 26.9M. The network says its Olympics coverage has reached 51.9M Brits since July 27th, or 90.4% of the population.