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Most watched TV sporting events of 2005

A special report from Initiative
Super Bowl is world’s favourite
The world’s sporting calendar operates on a quadrennial cycle. In even-numbered years, the most watched TV sporting events are always headed by the Football World Cup, the European Football Championships and the Summer Olympic Games.
For sports fans, 2005 was a relatively quiet year featuring none of these four-yearly events. This opened the way for an annual event – the Super Bowl – to come top of the league table of most watched TV sporting events. A global average audience of 93 million viewers tuned in to watch the New England Patriots defeat the Philadelphia Eagles. The US accounted for more than 90% of the global audience for the Super Bowl, with an average audience of 86 million.
The second most popular event of 2005 was the UEFA Champions League Final, between Liverpool and AC Milan. The match attracted an average audience of 73 million viewers. This was 20 million less than the Super Bowl audience. The third most popular event was the Canadian Grand Prix in the FIA Formula One World Championship season. This race enjoyed 51 million viewers, on average, a further 20 million plus behind the second-ranked event.
In all, this ViewerTrack survey monitored TV audiences from arguably the most high-profile event in fourteen of the world’s most popular sports. In addition to American Football, Soccer and Formula One, this survey also monitored TV audiences for 2005’s major global tournaments in Athletics, Baseball, Basketball, Cricket, Cycling, Golf, Handball, Ice Hockey, Swimming and Tennis. The report also included viewing data for the announcement of the winning city to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Initiative conducts ViewerTrack analyses to help identify and select the most appropriate communication properties in the world of sport, by delivering truly accurate and timely insight into global viewing patterns. Viewing of sporting events is often misreported either due to a misunderstanding of the data or possibly vested interests. However, Initiative’s neutral position and expertise in the communication research field delivers our clients accurate reporting and analysis.
The fourteen featured events4
2005’s most watched TV sporting event5
Which sports are truly global?6
The world’s highest-rating sporting7
Sports map of the world8
How actual audience sizes differ from claimed viewing figures9
The events in focus
American Football: Super Bowl                                                                               10
Soccer: European Champions League Final                                                               11
Formula 1: Canadian Grand Prix                                                                              12
Athletics: Men’s World 100 Metres Final                                                                   13
Baseball: World Series                                                                                          14
Basketball: NBA Finals                                                                                          15
Golf: US Masters                                                                                                 16
Cycling: Tour de France                                                                                       17
Tennis: Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final                                                                     18
Olympics: 2012 Summer Games Decision                                                                  19
Ice Hockey: Men’s World Championships Final                                                           20
Handball: Men’s World Championships Final                                                               21
Cricket: Ashes – 4th Day, 4th Test                                                                         22
Swimming: Men’s World 200 Metres Freestyle Final23
1. How Initiative’s approach differs from other published reports 24
2. Sources for claimed viewing figures statistics25
3. Contributors 27
4. Contacts30
The fourteen featured events
Within each chosen sport, the top events were drawn from a preselected list. The events were all chosen because they were all arguably the most high-profile event of 2005 from within their sport.
For international consistency, we collected data from each market for the live broadcast only of each event. Time-shifted broadcasts, highlights and news clips were excluded.
Those events were as follows:
American Football: NFL Super Bowl
Athletics: World Championships – Men’s 100 Metres Final
Baseball: World Series – Game 4
Basketball: NBA Finals – Game 7
Cricket: Ashes – 4th Day, 4th Test
Cycling: Tour de France – Final Stage
Formula 1: World Championship – Canadian Grand Prix
Golf: US Masters – Final Day
Handball: Men’s World Championships Final
Ice Hockey: Men’s World Championships Final
Olympic Games: Naming of host city for 2012 Summer Olympics
Soccer: European Champions League Final
Swimming: World Championships – Men’s 200 Metres Freestyle Final
Tennis: Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships – Men’s Singles Final
2005’s most watched TV sporting event
By collecting data across 53 markets, we have been able to rank the fourteen selected events in order of popularity. The Super Bowl was easily the most popular event of the year, with a live global cumulative average audience of 93 million individuals.
The second most popular event of 2005 was the UEFA Champions League Final. The match attracted an average audience of 73 million viewers. The third most popular event was the Canadian Grand Prix in Formula One. This race enjoyed 51 million viewers.
In fourth place was the final of the Men’s 100 Metres at the World Athletics Championships, with 23 million viewers. Next came the deciding games from the World Series in Baseball, and the NBA Finals, which were watched by 22 million and 20 million individuals, respectively.
Seventh and eighth places were taken by the final day from the US Masters in Golf, and the Tour de France cycle race. They were watched by average global audiences of 20 million and 16 million individuals, respectively. Tennis gained ninth place. 12 million people watched the final of the Men’s Singles at Wimbledon between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. The announcement of which city will host the 2012 Summer Olympics drew an audience of 11 million individuals.
The remainder of our surveyed events (World Championship Finals in Handball and Ice Hockey, the 4th Day of the 4th Test in the Ashes, and the Men’s 200 Metres Freestyle Final in the World Swimming Championships) all failed to reach the 10 million mark.
Which sports are truly global?
For an event to attract a big worldwide audience, it helps to have global appeal. For example, the mass appeal of soccer in most markets helps to propel it towards the top of any table of the most popular events in sport.
However, not all of the most watched TV sporting events in the world have global reach. For example, the US alone accounted for over 90 per cent of this year’s live global audience for the Super Bowl, and also for the deciding games in the World Series and NBA Finals.
To assess which sports are truly global, we have calculated the percentage of the worldwide audience accounted for by the top three rating markets for each of our surveyed events. This figure is lowest for the European Champions League Final, at 40 per cent. On this measure, this is a sign of the long-term health of the event since it is the least dependent of any of those surveyed on achieving high ratings in any single market. By contrast, if UK audiences for the Ashes, or US viewing figures for the Super Bowl or the World Series, were to fall, then that could have a sizeable effect on their global popularity.
Defined in this way, the most ‘global’ of our fourteen surveyed events of 2005 included the European Champions League Final and the Canadian Grand Prix. Their multinational appeal helps to explain why they appear near the top of the league table of the most watched TV sporting events of the year.
At the other extreme, events such as the Ashes, the World Series and the Super Bowl cannot be considered as global affairs, on this definition.
The world’s highest-rating sporting markets
The broadcast arrangements across our surveyed markets were varied, with a mixture of free-to-air / pay-TV and live / time-shifted broadcasts. As mentioned earlier, for the purposes of this survey, time-shifted broadcasts were excluded. Note that in some markets, a number of these leading sporting events were not even broadcast at all.
The top three-rating markets were the US (147 million individuals), the UK (32 million individuals) and France (27 million individuals). Given that the fourth and fifth biggest markets were Germany and Italy, respectively, it is clear that the established sporting nations of the West, with the largest populations and most comprehensive TV broadcast arrangements, deliver the largest absolute audiences and greatest potential for advertisers to communicate with sports fans in significant numbers.
A far wider range of markets come top, however, when viewing figures are expressed in percentage terms, rather than in thousands of viewers. Ratings (GRPs) are detailed for each event in their respective sections below.
All ratings referred to in this report relate to viewing figures for all individuals. A rating is the average percentage of the total TV-viewing population who viewed the programme.
Sports map of the world
By pulling together the viewing figures for each of our 53 surveyed markets, we have identified the leading sporting event in each of the six continents.
Compared with our surveys of the most watched TV sporting events of 2003 and 2004, there is no change in North America and Europe, where the popular cultural obsession with American Football and Soccer predominates, as it does in every year.
There is also no change in Asia. Soccer took top spot last year, in the shape of the Euro 2004 Final. It remains top this year with the European Champions League Final. The fact that this is most watched, of all fourteen surveyed events, is a reflection of the growing popularity of soccer in Asia. This development has been spurred by the growing number of broadcast hours in Asia dedicated to European football on multichannel TV.
In South America, last year the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympics was most popular. However, being a quadrennial event the way was clear this year for Formula One to reclaim the number one spot, which it had in 2003.
Oceania consistently suffers from highly inconvenient scheduling of major sporting events. Even though the Men’s Singles Final at Wimbledon took place during nighttime in that region, it was nevertheless able to claim top spot in the regional rankings.
How actual audience sizes differ from claimed viewing figures
One of the main reasons why Initiative conducts ViewerTrack analyses is to report the true level of interest in sporting events. The true audience can differ greatly from the claimed audience, as the table below shows.
Although, as detailed in the Appendix, the comparison between actual and claimed audience figures for each of these events is not directly like-for-like in every case, an indication of the degree to which viewing figures are popularly overstated is clear. For some of these events, the actual audience is so many times smaller than the claimed audience that the actual audience cannot even be seen on a chart that has the same scale for both actual and claimed data!
ViewerTrack always quotes average ratings across the entire length of a broadcast, for the sake of consistency and for greater accuracy when considering the value of sporting events from an advertising and sponsorship perspective. This is in contrast to the cumulative viewing data quoted by some companies in the sports industry (i.e. totalling all the viewers who watched the event at all, regardless for how long). ViewerTrack reports also always exclude highlights and news clips, for international consistency.
We now take a more detailed look at each of our surveyed events.
American Football: Super Bowl
Date: Sunday, 6th February 2005
Event: New England Patriots vs Philadelphia Eagles
The Super Bowl is the climax to the American Football season, and is the biggest event in the US sporting calendar. As a result, the match draws its highest audiences, both in absolute terms and in ratings, in the US. There, it attracted an average audience of 86 million individuals (31.0 GRPs).
The second biggest market was Canada (12.8 GRPs). Although the Super Bowl was broadcast in a number of markets, as shown on the chart, viewing was very low outside North America, since the sport is hardly played anywhere else in the world. This, combined with the unfavourable live broadcast time (late Sunday night / early Monday morning) in the key European TV markets, means that the Super Bowl does not enjoy widespread global appeal.
Soccer: European Champions League Final
Date: Wednesday, 25th May 2005
Event: Liverpool vs AC Milan
The 2004 European Champions League final featured two relative minnows of European football, namely Porto and Monaco. Their relative lack of fame, combined with the fact that the clubs come from two of Europe’s lower-profile football leagues, meant that the 2004 final achieved comparatively low ratings.
With the 2005 final featuring two of the most iconic and successful clubs in world football, namely Liverpool and AC Milan, this year’s final attracted far larger audiences. A global average audience of 73 million viewers watched, compared with an equivalent audience of only 56 million for Porto vs Monaco. So the global audience grew by 30 per cent this year.
The match achieved its highest ratings in Italy (20.1 GRPs), Turkey (19.8 GRPs) and the UK (19.2 GRPs). These three were the top-rating markets due to Italy and the UK providing the two finalists, and Istanbul hosting the match. This was the first time Turkey had ever been invited to host the final of a major competition run by UEFA.
The game was arguably the most exciting European Champions League Final ever, only being decided after extra time and penalties after a most unlikely second-half comeback by Liverpool. As a result, Croatia (18.1 GRPs), the Netherlands (14.9 GRPs) and Spain (14.8 GRPs) all also recorded very large viewing audiences for the match.
Formula 1: Canadian Grand Prix
Date: Sunday, 12th June 2005
The Canadian Grand Prix, along with the races in Brazil and the US, is traditionally one of the most popular races of the season. The Grands Prix in the Americas owe their pre-eminence because they are conveniently scheduled for European fans, being broadcast at peak viewing hours on a Sunday evening in European homes. With Europe accounting for three-quarters of the global F1 audience, maximising the European audience is all-important.
Three countries consistently come at the top of the F1 viewing ranks. This year’s Canadian Grand Prix was no exception, with Finland (22.3 GRPs), Italy (15.0 GRPs) and Hungary (14.3 GRPs) drawing the largest audiences, in terms of ratings.
With the Canadian Grand Prix so conveniently scheduled for European fans, the top ten rating markets were entirely European, with Germany, Spain, Austria, France, the UK, Latvia and Slovenia taking the other top places.
Initiative’s F1 ViewerTrack shows that while the Canadian Grand Prix was the most popular race of 2005, it attracted a smaller audience in 2004. Last year, its audience was depressed by the race directly clashing with the England vs France match at Euro 2004. This was one of the most watched matches of the entire tournament. With many Formula One fans also being soccer supporters, many had to choose between the two, and prioritised the soccer over Formula One.
Athletics: Men’s World 100 Metres Final
Date: Sunday, 7th August 2005
The World Athletics Championships is a biennial event for the world’s top athletes, falling in odd-numbered years between the Summer Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. Arguably the most high-profile of all track and field events is the Men’s 100 Metres, and hence we collected global viewing data for the final of this race to give an indication of how popular the World Athletics Championships were.
The race was most popular, in terms of ratings, in Finland (22.4 GRPs), Sweden (18.0 GRPs) and Norway (16.3 GRPs). Sweden was the top-rating market for the equivalent race at the 2003 World Athletics Championships, but was overtaken this time by Finland due to a sharp rise in viewing in that country because it was the host nation.
All three of these Scandinavian nations drew very large audiences for the race, even though none of them had a ‘Local Hero’ participating. In contrast, other countries that were represented in the race had much smaller audiences, in terms of ratings. For example, in Portugal the race only achieved 1.4 GRPs, even though their star sprinter Francis Obikwelu came fourth. The US had the gold medal winner, Justin Gatlin, yet had an even smaller audience, of only 0.1 GRPs.
These data reflect the fact that in Athletics, hosting a tournament and having a heritage and tradition in track and field events can have greater influence on viewing figures than the presence of a ‘Local Hero’.
Baseball: World Series – Game 4
Date: Wednesday, 26th October 2005
Event: Chicago White Sox vs Houston Astros
The World Series is the climax to the US baseball season. Game 4 between the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros was the deciding match of the series. In its home nation, the US, the match attracted an average audience of 20 million individuals (7.1 GRPs).
The second highest-rating market was Canada (2.9 GRPs). Although the World Series was broadcast in a number of markets, as shown on the chart, viewing was very low outside North America, since the sport is hardly played anywhere else in the world. This, combined with the unfavourable live broadcast time (early morning) in the key European TV markets, means that the World Series does not enjoy widespread global appeal.
Basketball: NBA Finals – Game 7
Date: Thursday, 23rd June 2005
Event: San Antonio Spurs vs Detroit Pistons
The NBA Finals are settled over a best-of-seven encounter. With the score at a nail-biting 3-3 after the first six games, Game 7 was a virtual final, with viewers knowing that the winner would be crowned NBA champions. So we collected data for Game 7 – the de facto final and hence likely to have been the peak viewing occasion.
As with the Super Bowl and World Series, the NBA Finals attracted by far their biggest audience in the US. An average US audience of 19 million individuals meant that it accounted for well over 90 per cent of global viewing.
However, the US audience was 1.5 million less than in 2004. This may have been caused by the absence of the LA Lakers, one of the most popular teams, from this year’s NBA Finals.
China Beijing (1.1 GRPs) and China Shanghai (0.7 GRPs) took third and fifth positions, reflecting the increased popularity of basketball in China thanks to the presence of Yao Ming in the NBA. Slovenia was fourth (0.9 GRPs).
Golf: US Masters
Date: Sunday, 10th April 2005
Event: Final Day
Of the four Grand Slam events in Golf (The Open, US Open, US PGA and the US Masters), the last is arguably the most high-profile. Held every year at the Augusta National in Georgia, the event arguably has an ability to attract viewers that the other three events do not. This is in part because it is always held in April, and not held in the summer when TV viewing in general tends to be lower. It is also because the natural beauty of the course is itself a reason to watch for some. It was for these reasons that we collected data for the Final Day – the climax of the event – for the US Masters.
The top-rating markets were Canada and the US (both 5.3 GRPs). Both countries had local interest – Canada in the shape of Mike Weir, the 2003 US Masters champion, and the US in the form of Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco (amongst others).
This year’s US Masters was one of the most exciting in years, with Woods and DiMarco both finishing the final day on 12 under par, and the event therefore went to a play-off. The extremely tight finish kept viewers on the edge of their seats till the very end.
Mike Weir also performed extremely creditably, finishing joint fifth, and this helped to boost Canadian viewing figures.
The event was also popular in the UK (4.2 GRPs) with England’s bright young prospect, Luke Donald, finishing equal third.
Cycling: Tour de France
Date: Sunday, 24th July 2005
Event: Final Stage, Corbeil-Essonnes to Paris
After navigating through all the highs and lows of the French countryside, the cyclists made their traditional finish along the Champs-Elysees. It was the final chance for the sprinters to show their wares and provided the scene of the coronation of Lance Armstrong in the yellow jersey in Paris for a record-breaking seventh occasion. As the climax to the three-week race, we collected data for this stage.
The final stage was most popular in the established cycling markets of Belgium North (13.7 GRPs), Denmark (12.0 GRPs) and France (8.9 GRPs). The importance of nostalgia as a motivating factor for watching is in evidence here, with Belgian viewing benefiting from having an established heritage in the sport, particularly through Eddy Merckx, widely regarded as one of the greatest cyclists ever.
However, in the US the final stage achieved only 1.0 GRPs, even as Lance Armstrong secured his seventh consecutive maillot jaune. Clearly the ‘Local Hero Syndrome’ isn’t always enough to attract viewers. Instead, scheduling is often more important. With the final stage broadcast early on a Sunday morning in the US, this necessarily depressed US viewing figures.
Armstrong has since announced his retirement from professional cycling. With a different winner of the Tour guaranteed next year, it is likely that next year’s race will be a closer-run affair, and will therefore attract more viewers globally.
Tennis: Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final
Date: Sunday, 3rd July 2005
Event: Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick
The 2005 Wimbledon final was a repeat of 2004’s final. Again, the match was between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick and again Roger Federer, the favourite, won comfortably. The ease with which he won, and the firm expectation that that would happen, helped to propel Switzerland to the top of the ratings league (6.7 GRPs), but depressed audiences in a number of other markets.
The match attracted large audiences in Croatia (6.0 GRPs) and in the UK (5.8 GRPs). Tennis is growing in popularity in Croatia, with the country having a particularly strong crop of male players at the moment. Indeed, Croatia won its first ever Davis Cup this year.
Audiences in the UK were high as it was the host nation. Although tennis is relatively unpopular during most of the year in the UK, there is always a surge in interest in the sport during Wimbledon fortnight.
The match only achieved 1.0 GRPs in the US, even though Andy Roddick was representing them. With the game broadcast on a Sunday morning in the US, this necessarily depressed US viewing figures.
US audiences were 25 per cent lower than they were for the Men’s Singles Final in 2004. Viewing may well have declined in the expectation that Roddick would be comprehensively beaten, as indeed he was.
Olympics: 2012 Summer Games Decision
Date: Wednesday, 6th July 2005
The decision on which will be the host city for the Summer Olympics is taken seven years in advance, in order to give the winning city sufficient time to prepare for the huge task that is involved in holding the Olympics. The five major cities on the shortlist for the 2012 Games were: London, Madrid, Moscow, New York and Paris. However, with prior expectations strongly favouring the chances of some of the bidding cities over others, there were marked differences in the viewing audiences in each of the represented countries.
Viewing figures were highest in France (10.6 GRPs), where they were almost double those of the second-ranked market, the UK (5.4 GRPs).
There are a number of stages in the IOC’s evaluation process, and at each of these prior to the final decision it was clear that Paris was ahead of the field. Expectations of victory were, therefore, highest in France. It was perceived to be the ‘safe’ option since it submitted a highly impressive technical bid and already had many of the facilities in place.
However, a late burst by the UK bid, largely due to the eleventh-hour support of Prime Minister Tony Blair, led to London unpredictably overtaking Paris in the final voting. This result was, however, so unexpected that viewing figures in the UK were much lower than those in France.
Ice Hockey: Men’s World Championships Final
Date: Sunday, 15th May 2005
Event: Czech Republic vs Canada
The 2005 Ice Hockey World Championships were held in Austria. Europe enjoyed the most favourable broadcasting arrangements, and so dominated the TV ratings. Audiences were highest in the Czech Republic (32.5 GRPs), Finland (15.0 GRPs) and Sweden (6.7 GRPs).
The final, which was contested between the Czech Republic and Canada, was far more popular in the former. Average ratings were only 4.8 per cent in Canada, one-seventh of the 32.5 GRPs in the Czech Republic. The most important reason why the match was so much less popular in Canada was that, being held in Austria, it was scheduled at an inconvenient time of day for Canadian fans.
Whilst it was broadcast during primetime on a Sunday evening for European fans, it was scheduled during the middle of the afternoon in Canada. The total TV viewing audience on a Sunday afternoon is always significantly lower than during Sunday evenings, and Canadian audiences were therefore depressed for this reason.
Average audiences in Austria were relatively low (1.0 GRPs). This is a reflection of the fact that normally much more than merely hosting a sporting event is required in order to boost interest. With the Austrian team failing to even qualify for the quarter-finals, the ‘Local Hero’ dimension was missing for the host nation.
Handball: Men’s World Championships Final
Date: Sunday, 6th February 2005
Event: Spain vs Croatia
Europe dominated the TV ratings for the World Handball Championships. The top rating markets were Croatia (32.9 GRPs), Denmark (11.5 GRPs) and Norway (10.6 GRPs).
The final was contested between Spain and Croatia. Average ratings were nearly four times higher in Croatia (32.9 GRPs) than they were in Spain (8.6 GRPs).
Why were Croatian audiences much larger than Spanish ones, even though Spain actually won the final?
· Croatians are some of the most fanatical sports fans anywhere in the world. They also achieve very high ratings in other major sporting events. For example, out of more than 50 markets surveyed globally by ViewerTrack during Euro 2004, Croatia achieved the 5th highest ratings.
· Croatia were the reigning World Champions from the 2003 tournament, so levels of interest and expectations in the sport were already high, before the tournament had even begun.
· Spanish audiences are much less focused on supporting their national team. Many people in Spain feel more strongly attached to their region (e.g. the Basque country, Catalonia) than they do to Spain as a whole. As a result, Spanish audiences for international sporting events often tend to be relatively low. For example, of the 16 participating nations at Euro 2004, average ratings in Spain were only 14th highest.
Cricket: Ashes – 4th Day, 4th Test
Date: Sunday, 28th August 2005
Event: England vs Australia
The Ashes is arguably the most high-profile of all series in Test cricket, given that it features the two oldest rivals in the sport – England and Australia. The latter had enjoyed a stranglehold over the event in recent times, with England last winning the Ashes in 1986-87.
The fourth day of the fourth Test was the climax of a critical phase of the whole series. With England scrambling to victory by the narrow margin of three wickets, they secured a 2-1 lead in the series. This meant that they only had to draw the final Test (which they did) in order to regain the Ashes. As arguably the highlight of the summer from the perspective of England supporters, this particular day’s play was chosen for this ViewerTrack study.
Viewing figures were highest in the UK (6.8 GRPs) and in Australia (3.9 GRPs). They were much higher in the UK because this year’s Ashes were held in England, and they were therefore broadcast at a much more convenient time of day for English than for Australian fans.
This year’s Ashes achieved very high ratings in both participating markets, but particularly in England. Viewing figures there jumped hugely compared with previous years, as a totally new audience was attracted to the sport. With cricket coming to be seen as a ‘sexy’ sport on the back of England’s success, there was a particularly sharp rise in female viewing.
Swimming: Men’s World 200 Metres Freestyle Final
Date: Tuesday, 26th July 2005
Swimming, along with Athletics, is the most watched sport at the Summer Olympics. However, the World Swimming Championships have a much lower profile than the Swimming events at the Olympics, and therefore they achieve much lower viewing figures. While the final of the Men’s 200 Metres Freestyle at the Athens Olympics was watched by an average global audience of 66 million, the equivalent race at the World Swimming Championships only achieved an audience one-twentieth of the size. It was watched by only 3 million viewers.
The highest-rating markets were Poland (2.3 GRPs), Australia (2.0 GRPs) and Canada (1.8 GRPs). Audiences in Australia and Canada were boosted by the presence of their local heroes in the race, in the form of Australia’s Grant Hackett (who won the silver medal) and Canada’s Brent Hayden (who came fourth).
US viewing figures are not available since the race was broadcast on Fox College Sports, which is not tracked by their local TV audience measurement bureau. However, it is likely that the fact that Michael Phelps, their local hero, won gold would have raised interest there.
1. How Initiative’s approach differs from other published reports
ViewerTrack Methodology
ViewerTrack reports are only produced thanks to the efforts of TV researchers and planners throughout our global network. 53 markets have provided the data to form a report that gives an unrivalled insight into TV viewing and a truly international perspective. Taken together, these markets account for over 90 per cent of the world’s TV households.
Markets Covered:
Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA)

Asia and Oceania

Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, US
Austria, Belgium (north and south), Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Ukraine
Australia, China (Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai regions), Hong Kong, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand
This analysis is based on live broadcasts only. Time-shifted broadcast, summary programmes, highlights and news broadcasts have not been included in order to maintain international consistency.
Ratings (GRP/TVR) and Viewers (000s) in this report are for average minute-by-minute viewing of the broadcast. ViewerTrack always quotes average ratings across the entire length of a broadcast, for the sake of consistency and for greater accuracy when considering the value of sporting events from an advertising and sponsorship perspective. This is in contrast to the cumulative viewing data quoted by some companies in the sports industry (i.e. totalling all the viewers who watched the event at all, regardless for how long). This is a very important distinction to draw since minute-by-minute data is the standard approach used in establishing industry standard trading currencies worldwide.
2. Sources for claimed viewing figures statistics
Super Bowl
“Sunday's Super Bowl will be watched by 800 million people, according to the National Football League (NFL).”
European Champions League Final
“Tonight's match attracted an enthralled global live television audience of 200 million people.”
Canadian Grand Prix
“With over 55 billion viewers every year, Formula One has the largest television audience in sport.”
This equates to an average audience of approximately 300 million viewers per race.
Men’s World 100 Metres Final
“The World Athletics Championships … televised to an estimated 180 countries and over four billion viewers around the world.”
NBA Finals
“NBA programming currently is seen in 214 countries around the world in 43 languages reaching a global audience of more than 750 million households outside of North America.”
Tour de France
“TV broadcasting:
- 78 channels in 170 countries
- 2 billion viewers
- 2,400 hours of TV coverage”
Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final
“In summer 2004… more than 6,159 hours of programming from The Championships were broadcast by networks around the world. Cumulatively, around 1.8 billion people received some syndicated coverage across 167 territories.”
Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships Final
“Infront, the International Ice Hockey Federation's exclusive marketing partner, has built up television coverage of the event to 35 countries and a global television audience in excess of 700 million.”
Men’s Handball World Championships Final
Approximatively 180 million viewers all over the world watched the title contests.
Men’s World 200 Metres Freestyle Final
“12th FINA World Championships facts and figures:
International TV audience - Approximately One Billion”
3. About Initiative and the ViewerTrack series
Initiative is one of the world’s largest communications agencies, providing clients with effective communication solutions. Association with sport is one of the many potential routes to connect brands with their consumers. This enables advertisers to expand beyond traditional advertising and take advantage of communication areas including sponsorship, sports marketing and broadcast content provision.
4. Contacts
Report produced by
Kevin Alavy and Alison Gaskell
Initiative Futures
Please direct questions or comments to:
Heather Bowler
International Press Service
Initiative, Paris
Tel: +33 1 42 84 41 18
Nick Moore
Sponsorship Manager
Initiative, London
Tel: +44 207 663 73 19
Sue Moseley
Managing Director
Initiative Futures
Tel: +44 207 663 72 71
This document is the sole property of Initiative. This report and all data and information contained therein are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. Any reprint, transmission, or publication of the said report and/or its content is strictly forbidden without prior written agreement by an authorised representative of Initiative.
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