7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
A staggering 3.3m viewers tuned into BBC Grandstand for the match between Gloucester and Munster - a Grandstand figure bettered by only one previous Heineken Cup match in the seven-year history of the competition.
Derek McGrath, Chief Executive of ERC, the tournament organisers, were looking to reach a 5m audience each of the six weekends of Pool matches but, in exceeding that by 20 per cent from the kick-off, the Heineken Cup has got off to a real flier.
"Six matches were shown on seven channels and only the 1999 Heineken Cup match between Bath and Toulouse, which was watched by 3.9m, has ever attracted a bigger Grandstand audience than last Saturday's programme," said McGrath.
"And while those total audience figures are far greater than we expected, so are the shares of audiences.
"Toulouse's match against London Irish, broadcast by France Televisions, claimed an audience of 1.85m - a staggering 23 per cent share of the French market. And Neath's Friday night clash with Leicester Tigers, shown on BBC Wales, took a 17 per cent share - two points better than network - with 230,000 viewers."