Great British Bake Off 2015 final attracts bigger audience than any England Rugby World Cup game with 13.4m viewers

Joe Hall
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This year's Bake Off finalists (Source: BBC)

It turns out Britons are more in thrall to baking than brawn and prefer scrumptiousness to scrums, after last night's Great British Bake Off final attracted more viewers than any of England's games at the Rugby World Cup.

England's disastrous World Cup campaign, exclusively broadcast by ITV, pulled in a peak audience of 11.6m viewers during the team's loss to Wales, while the BBC's Bake Off final reached a peak audience of around 14.5m.

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Last year's final was the most-watched entertainment show of 2014, with an average audience of 12.3m, but that number was topped by last night's average of 13.4m following the 11m people who tuned in for last week's semi-final.

Viewing figures for the latest series have consistently beaten last year's numbers. The Love Productions show has rocketed in popularity since its first series in 2010 attracted just 2.5m viewers for the final.

Competitive baking has even trumped major sporting events. Last year's final received almost 4m more viewers than the England football team's game against Norway on the same night.

ITV's viewing figures and audience share during the Rugby World Cup are likely to suffer after England crashed out of their own tournament, becoming the first host to not make the knock-out stage.

The broadcaster enjoyed a peak audience of 15.8m for England's appearance in the 2007 final eight years ago.

Early numbers for this tournament were initially encouraging, with a peak audience of 11.6m for the opening game with Wales the largest for any sporting event since the 2014 football World Cup final and largest audience for a rugby game since the 2007 final.

Game Average audience Peak audience Average audience share
England v Fiji 7.8m 9.4m 35.3%
England v Wales 8.3m 11.6m 38%
England v Australia 10.2m 11m 36.8%

Stuart Lancaster's men attracted an average audience of 7.8m for their opening night win over Fiji, 8.3m for their loss to Wales and 10.2m for the terminal defeat to Australia last Saturday.

In contrast, the biggest games not including the hosts such as New Zealand v Argentina and South Africa v Scotland have attracted around 4m viewers each.

ITV's advertising revenues are not likely to significantly dampen, however, with most advertising slots for the remainder of the competition likely to have been booked up in advance.

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