“The 2018 FIFA World Cup ended on a climax in an epic European confrontatio,” said Yassine Berhoun, Sports Director at Eurodata TV Worldwide.
“This clearly shows once again that even at the age of mobile devices and non-linear viewing , major sports events are the only shows capable of gathering such large audiences in front of a TV set”.
In France, 19.3 million viewers have witnessed their team’s victory against Croatia on TF1 in the middle of the afternoon. Two years ago, the Euro final France-Portugal attracted 20.8 million viewers on M6 in prime-time. The semi-final had gathered 19.1 million viewers on Tuesday at 8.00 pm opposing Les Bleus to Belgium on TF1.
In Croatia, the semi-final against England had gathered nearly 1.5 million viewers on the public channel HTV2 (81% of market share) ; it is 100,000 viewers more who vibrated this Sunday for the final, for a total of 1.6 million people in front of their TV (89.3% of market share).
Despite a drop compared to the 2014 World Cup final, which may be explained by the start time, the event remains very popular in European countries. 21.3 million Germans followed the match, for a market share of 76.1% on ZDF. In the Netherlands and Italy, which weren’t qualified for the World Cup, 3.1 and 11.7 million football fans respectively watched the match on NPO1 and Canale 5.
Outside Europe, the final was also a huge success. In China, 56 million viewers for the match despite a late broadcast (11.00 pm). This is the best audience for a sports programme since the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
The television is no longer the only screen used to watch live matches. In France, more than half a million viewers followed the final on one of the 3 internet screens (smartphone, tablet, computer).
Beyond the historical audiences, the broadcast of this 2018 edition was marked by the use of new technologies that are revolutionizing the viewer experience. In France, for example, a virtual reality helmet enabled spectators equipped to experience matches as if they were at the stadium, with a wealth of information and features as bonus : review goals, check game statistics…
In China, some smart TVs made possible to identify each player on the field thanks to facial recognition, the spectator then accessing biographical elements, statistics or news of the player thus recognised.