More than 200,000 viewers tuned in to BT Sport’s free-to-air opening night of Bayern Munich versus Manchester City and JP Morgan Asset Management rugby 7s.
BT Sport 1 and 2 managed an average of 154,100 over the evening’s sport on August 1, with a peak of 207,500 at the start of the Audi Cup final live from Germany at 7.35pm.
Around 91,900 viewers watched the live launch special from BT Sport’s studios at the Olympic Park in east London, TV industry magazine Broadcast reports.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to getting BT Sport and what’s on BT SportThe Sky Sport rival’s first night was free via satellite on Sky, with BT Sport 1 on Freeview, as well as being free to BT Broadband subscribers online and BT Infinity subscribers via YouView and BT Vision.
The live launch event showcased the huge BT Sport studio’s virtual pitch, where presenters and pundits can recreate events from any sport, as well as hosting its coverage in a Top Gear-style magazine format.
The BT Sport numbers demonstrate how much successful pay-TV sports channels are about satisfying niche groups like Rubgy 7s fans as catering for the Premier League crowd, with just 18,000 watching the rugby on BT Sport 2.
Sky will launch its fight back against BT Sport with a free day on August 17 using Sky 2 and Pick TV to re-broadcast Sky Sports 1 for the day across Freeview, Freesat, Sky, Virgin Media, YouView and TalkTalk TV.
Free games will include Barclays Premier League opener Swansea City vs Manchester United, and Leeds United vs Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship, as well as Sky’s new shows, Saturday Night Football, starring David Jones and Jamie Redknapp, and Football League roundup FL72 LIVE, with Simon Thomas.