TV Licensing: millions of sports fans to tune in

TV Licensing figures reveal millions of sports fans set to tune in to watch the action

With a series of major sporting events hitting our screens this summer – such as Wimbledon, the World Championships in Athletics, the World Rowing Championships and Formula 1 - new figures from TV Licensing suggest that sports fans will be tuning in to watch in droves and in a variety of different ways:

  • More than half the population tuned in over the course of the Wimbledon tournament in 2010, whilst 17.45m* tuned in for England’s World Cup match against Germany ( Infographic - History of Live Sport on UK Television (PDF 1,516 Kb opens in a new window)
  • People are increasingly using different devices to keep up to speed with the action, both at work and on the move: 6.8 million** watched Wimbledon matches live online in 2010
  • This year, for the first time, sports fans will be able to watch the men and women’s Wimbledon finals in 3D: 200,000*** homes across the UK have bought 3D-enabled sets since their introduction to the market in Easter last year
  • Yet forty years after colour TV was introduced, a dedicated minority will be watching the old fashioned way: more than 20,500 households in the UK still have a black and white TV Licence

TV Licensing is reminding people that whatever equipment you use to watch this summer’s tournament – a black and white or colour TV, computer, mobile phone or games console - you need a TV Licence if you want to watch or record the coverage as it is being shown on TV.

Suzanne Stevenson, TV Licensing spokesperson, said:

There are more ways than ever before for people to watch their favourite sporting events, whether on the move via their smartphone, on the latest high definition, flat screen TVs or on an old fashioned black and white set.  However you choose to keep up with this great summer of sport, it is important to be aware of the need to be covered by a valid TV Licence to watch or record programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV.

More information on how and where to pay for your TV Licence can be found at


TV Licensing’s ‘Telescope’ report
Telescope Report 2011 (PDF 1.8 MB opens in a new window)
BBC Audiences statistics
Figures from GfK Retail and Technology (opens in a new window)

Notes to Editor:

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson, please call the TV Licensing press office on 020 7544 3144 or email

General information about TV Licensing is available in other languages: