World Cup Final sets TV viewing records

WC Trophy FinalThe World Cup final on 13 July between Germany and Argentina set an all-time ratings record in Germany. An estimated 34.65 million people watched the game on public broadcast network ARD, beating the previous record, also set during the World Cup,  Germany’s 7-1 semifinal victory over Brazil on broadcast network ZDF, which had reached nearly 32.6 million viewers on average.

The final is now the highest-rated program ever in Germany since audience data has been collected. The game had a share of 86.3 percent of all Germans watching TV at the time, which is also one of the highest figures ever.

The numbers do not include fans who watched at public viewing sites, such as in bars or on big screens in outdoor locations around Berlin and other cities, a popular viewing option in Germany.

In comparison to the final, Germany’s quarterfinal against France had drawn 26.3 million viewers in Germany, the Round of 16 game against Algeria had reached 28.2 million, while the team’s first match of the World Cup against Portugal drew 26.4 million, followed by a 2-2 draw against Ghana that averaged 24.5 million viewers.

Prior to the 2014 World Cup the previous audience records were reached in 2010 when the World Cup semifinal between Germany and Spain drew 31.1 million viewers.

Numbers for the US show the country’s growing interest in “soccer”. The final averaged an impressive 26.5 million viewers on ABC and Univision, according to Nielsen — higher than the 24.7 million who watched the USA-Portugal match on 22 June. Both ABC (17.3 million) and Univision (9.2 million) registered their largest audiences ever for a World Cup game

To put it in context, the figure of 26.5 million is a larger audience in the US than the deciding game for the most recent World Series on Fox (19.2 million) and the NBA Finals on ABC (18.0 million). It also beat the BCS Championship game in college football on ESPN in January (25.6 million).

For ABC, the 17.3 million ranks third among all English-language soccer matches in the US, behind only the 18.2 million for USA-Portugal match and the 18 million for the Women’s World Cup Final against China in 1999.

In addition to the TV broadcast, the final match on WatchESPN generated 1,800,000 live unique viewers, 112,100,000 live minutes viewed and the highest time spent per viewer (63 minutes) of any match of the 2014 World Cup.

Univision, which had set a  US Spanish-language World Cup ratings record in each round of the tournament, ended up about 35% ahead of 2010 in average viewership. The network’s coverage reached 80.9 million viewers, 65% more than 2010 (49.1 million).

In the UK a peak television audience of more than 20 million viewers watched Germany win – the vast majority of them on BBC1. The game was seen by a peak of 16.7 million viewers on BBC1 at 10.30pm on Sunday. Another 3.8 million viewers were watching at the same time on ITV, for a peak audience across both channels of 20.5 million. ITV’s five-minute peak, across the entire game, came towards the end of normal time with 4 million viewers at 9.45pm.

BBC1’s audience was down on the 2010 final, which averaged 12.7 million viewers across the entirety of the BBC’s coverage. ITV was up marginally, from 2.8 million.

The final was the biggest UK TV audience since the Summer Olympics 2012 closing ceremony in London. On a combined basis, the audience share peaked at more than 75 percent of people watching TV in Britain at the time, up from 72.7 percent for the last World Cup final.

In France, the final averaged 13.6 million viewers, on TF1 with a peak audience of 15.3 million. A 61 percent share.

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