700 million to watch World Cup Final

Jul 12

Spain celebrate World Cup victory (source: New York Times)More than 700 million viewers worldwide are expected to have watched Spain’s 1-0 victory over Netherlands at the FIFA World Cup final.

The match is expected to draw an all-time record viewership for the broadcast in Spain, and attract over 90 percent of the Dutch market for the final.

FIFA’s head of television Niclas Ericson, told The Associated Press, television broadcasting deals had been signed with every country to watch the final.

“I think this is the first time anyone has succeeded in more or less placing the rights in every territory.

“We think [Sunday's match] will be bigger than the 2006 World Cup final, which was I believe around 700 million.”

Calculating the crowd

FIFA will utilize more accurate measures than four years ago to calculate the audience in almost 100 countries, whilst the viewership in another 100 countries is based on estimates.

Broadcasting of the World Cup in North Korea was in doubt, with Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), the South Korean broadcaster which held the rights for the region, severing broadcast links to the country, as previously reported in TSR.

North Korea was later granted access to the World Cup through a deal with the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. FIFA is now seeking information on how the tournament was watched in North Korea.

“We have asked to get feedback both in terms of the number of matches shown and when they were shown,” said Ericson.

Great expectations

Should the match meet the expectations of FIFA officials, it will top the 600 million viewers who watched the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“The increase has been so much in so many territories that we feel quite confident saying it must be a bigger audience this time.”

Ratings in the US were up 50% from their 2006 figures, whilst Canadian viewership has more than doubled. In Germany a record 32 million watched their country’s semi final match with Spain.

By contrast, Australian viewership for the World Cup has declined markedly from their 2006 figures, largely due to the less than stellar performance by Australia who were knocked out in the first round.

Australian viewing figures for the World Cup final will be released tomorrow morning.

Media Spy discussion: FIFA World Cup

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Lowie July 12th 2010

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