By Daniel Etchells

The total television audience for the 2014 European Athletics Championships in Zurich eclipsed that of Gothenburg 2006 ©European AthleticsThe continued popularity of the European Athletics Championships has been underlined after it was revealed that a total television audience of 358 million watched the most recent edition in Zurich this summer.

The cumulative figure, which excludes news audiences, has been collated from European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Repucom reports received by European Athletics.

It is higher than the 340 million reported for Gothenburg 2006, held over seven days, and almost on an equal level to the 368 million for Barcelona 2010, which took place over six days, like Zurich.

A total of 33 broadcasters produced 1,677 hours of coverage, comprising of live, deferred, highlights and sports magazines, for the Championships that took place from August 12 to 17.

"These excellent TV figures show the continued importance of our sport on the continent," said European Athletics President Hansjörg Wirz.

"We expected a drop in the audience between Barcelona 2010 and Zurich 2014 taking into account the respective sizes of the national markets but the audience has held up incredibly well."

The EBU also delivered a report on the average audience per minute during transmission of the Championships, a more qualitative measurement that European Athletics plans to use in the future.

The report on average audiences, which are based on live, delayed and highlights transmissions during the daytime, included only the same 25 countries that broadcast the Championships in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

A total of 33 broadcasters produced 1,677 hours of coverage for the 2014 European Athletics Championships in Zurich ©Getty ImagesA total of 33 broadcasters produced 1,677 hours of coverage for the 2014 European Athletics Championships in Zurich ©Getty Images

These were Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Zurich 2014 had an average audience of 11.6 million, the total of the average audiences of the 25 markets added together.

This is an increase of 3.2 per cent in the average audience from Gothenburg 2006 at 11.3 million, and is almost on a par with Barcelona 2010 at 11.9 million.

Key markets, France and Germany, both improved on Gothenburg 2006 and Barcelona 2010 with average audiences above 2.5 million, while the United Kingdom remained stable, hovering just below the two million mark. 

Other countries that saw increases included Czech Republic and The Netherlands, both of which have major upcoming European Athletics events.

Prague are due to host the 2015 European Athletics Indoor Championships while Amsterdam is scheduled to stage the 2016 European Athletics Championships.

In the Olympic year of 2012, the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki had a total cumulative audience of 156 million but this was with a shortened programme that did not include road races,

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