Wednesday, June 28, 2006

World Cup television audiences smash records

A cumulative television audience of about 30 billion is expected to view the World Cup finals and break records for the world’s most-watched sports event, Dominik Schmid, CEO of Infront, the company that sells the global TV rights for the World Cup on behalf of FIFA, has confirmed. “We estimate that the cumulative global audience for the World Cup will be more than 30 billion. Audience viewing records and market share are significantly more than in 2002 and in some countries records are being broken day after day. Research also shows that 40 percent more women are watching the World Cup than in 2002. The overall figures are not just confined to countries competing in the finals,” he disclosed.

According to Reuters, the total viewing audience in China for the England-Paraguay group match was 62.9 million people – larger than the populations of England and Paraguay combined. Figures in the host nation were significantly higher than in 2002, up 51 percent, according to the figures released by Infront. Figures in North, South and Central America, Asia and the Far East and Oceania were all equally impressive. Brazil’s opening two matches attracted 60.5 million and 54.5 million viewers respectively, both achieving a market share of 90 percent in the region. The Argentina-Mexico second-round match in Leipzig on Saturday, broadcast on Univision in the United States, attracted 6.7 million viewers, the most-watched sports event in the history of Spanish-language television in the USA.

Schmid added that the global TV audience for the 2002 final between Germany and Brazil was 1.1 billion – approximately one in every four people on earth. “I am not sure the figure will be much higher this time,” he said, “I think that is about as high as you can go but we will see.”

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