Snooker's Dafabet World Championship scored outstanding viewing figures on the BBC, with a peak audience of nearly six million for the final.
The tournament at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield ran from April 19 to May 5 and achieved a total viewership of 26.427 million, up 15 per cent on 2013's figures.
Mark Selby beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 18-14 in the final to win the title for the first time, and the three-minute peak for the concluding session was 5.951 million, which was 53 per cent up on last year. The average audience for the final session was 3.5 million, for a 15 per cent audience share.
The BBC televised a total of 153 hours of coverage throughout the event, compared to 144 hours in 2013, with an average live audience of 936,000, an increase of 11 per cent on last year.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "We are thrilled with these excellent viewing figures. The audience share was the highest in six years and the peak figure was the highest since 2011.
"It was a wonderful tournament with exciting matches and close finishes, and of course the mesmerising final with Mark Selby winning in dramatic style. I'm delighted that so many millions of people in the UK tuned in to watch our biggest event.
"These figures - alongside our record ticket sales for the tournament - underline the fact that snooker remains one of the UK's most popular sports. There is so much support for snooker among the public and it's only going to get stronger."
World Snooker media office
T: 07766 656133
World Snooker Championship Qualifiers
Ponds Forge, Sheffield
World Snooker Championship
19 April - 5 May
The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Pressat Wire, on Thursday 8 May, 2014. For more information subscribe and follow http://www.pressat.co.uk/