As the group stages in Brazil have come to an end, TV broadcasters are reflecting on an outstanding set of results from the first two weeks of the FIFA World Cup 2014.
The group matches have set new TV records in a number of markets, from Belgium to the US. Sales of television advertising and subscriptions have also benefitted.
For the first time, there is also evidence of “second screen” applications growing in popularity. 12.2 million tweets were sent during Brazil’s win over Croatia and several thousand viewers are watching the games on broadcasters’ streaming services. But the real story around ‘social media’ has been the growth in public viewing, reinforcing the role of mass audience television as the original “social” media.
The audited global figures will not be known for some time but broadcasters are already optimistic that the viewing numbers for the final on 13 July may approach or even surpass the 909 million who watched the Spain v Netherlands final in 2010.
A total of 11.5 million Dutch viewers (88.4%) watched their national team’s victory over Chili: 10.2 million at home and 1.3 million in public places.
A record number of 42.9 million Brazilians tuned in to see their team’s win over Croatia. 81.3% of Croatians watched the game (1.5 million).
Brazil-Croatia was also the most watched opening match in at least 12 years in the UK, with 11.2 million UK viewers (records going back to 2002).
The match Belgium – South Korea was the most watched football game in the history of Belgian television, reaching 3 million Flemish fans (82.8% of TV viewers) and 2.1 million of French-speaking Belgians (82.1%).
Viewing records were reported also in the UK: a peak of 20 million (71% share) watched England v Uruguay, the highest peak audience on any channel since the 2012 London Olympics.
27.3 million (84.2%) viewers in Germany tuned in to watch Germany defeat the US.
15.3 million Italians (82%) watched the game between England and Italy.
Greek viewership peaked at 81.3% audience share for Greece’s win over Ivory Coast.
68.5% of Spanish viewers (11.2 million) caught the game in which their national team was defeated by Holland.
The French victory over Honduras scored 56.3% audience share in France or 15.9 million viewers, amongst whom 1 million saw the game on digital platforms
Even in countries such as Sweden, where the national team didn’t qualify, the World Cup gathered up to 2.64 Mio viewers (48% audience share) for the game of Brazil against Mexico, also with impressive figures online, TV4 reporting up to 130 077 streams on their platform for the game of Spain against Chile.
The US’s first game drew more than 11 million viewers – the highest-rated football match ever shown on ESPN – and nearly 5 million on a Spanish-language network.
Even an 8 am broadcast of Australia’s match against Chile didn’t discourage 2.3 million Australians from watching the game.