I reckon I can still hear the distant reverberation of vuvuzelas here in Joburg originating from what was the biggest sporting event in South Africa’s history, the FIFA 2010 World Cup.
Soccer mania swept over our nation during 2010 and fans who never knew they were fans joined the four week orgy, fuelled by the fact that we were the host nation and in the running – what better excuse than that to party and take pride and credit for what was indeed a massively successful event.
Fast forward four years and four weeks of World Cup Brazil has flown by with nothing of the fanfare we were assaulted with in 2010. The experience just wasn’t quite the same. Those earplugs we donned as we ventured bravely into our fabulous stadia to shield ourselves from our cherished vuvuzela is but a distant memory. Yes, admittedly there were those die-hards trying to rustle up a Brazilian Carnival in their backyards but mostly Brazil 2014 slipped by barely detected by the partyometer in comparison to 2010.
There were a few factors at play influencing the decibel rating and audience delivery:
1.The obvious – no longer being host nation played the biggest role.
2.The five hour time difference between Brazil and SA.
3.Bafana Bafana missing in action.
Let’s gain a perspective on historical FIFA audience data
Based on viewers watching one minute or more of coverage, the in-home television coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa reached over 3.2 billion people around the world; 46.4% of the global population and an 8% rise on that achieved at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.
Based on viewers watching a minimum of 20 consecutive minutes of coverage, the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa reached nearly a third of the world population: 2.2 billion viewers. This was a 3% rise on the in-home television reach of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.
Let’s tally those audiences by territory
The average in-home global audience for each match during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa was 188.4 million.
As we await FIFA’s official audience report on the 2014 Brazil edition, expectations of an increase in the global TV audience compared to the 3.2 billion reach of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa are high, which would make it the most popular event ever in terms of TV audiences.
Several territories saw new in-home audience records set during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, including South Africa. The games featuring the home nation attracted average audiences of just under 10 million individuals, 30% of those with access to television in the home. The highest live audience was for the second match between South Africa and Uruguay, which attracted an average of 10.15 million viewers in-home – breaking all previous viewing records in South Africa.
Audience reach in South Africa increased 18% versus the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany. A total of nearly 28 million individuals were reached in South Africa by the in-home coverage, 57% of the population and well over 80% of all those with access to television in-home.
As a result of hosting and participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, audiences increased sharply; the average live match gained 152% higher audiences compared to the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.
The 2014 event did not maintain anywhere near these kinds of levels.
Live coverage attracted by far the highest audiences of any type of coverage, therefore producing almost two-thirds of the total audience. Highlights and magazine programming generated a further 30% of the total audience, while repeats and delayed footage accounted for the lowest audiences and therefore produced just 5% of the overall audience combined.
Overall the event proved more popular with men, with approximately 57% of the live match audience across 15 major measured markets being male. Where the event reached a high share of the population, the audience profile was more reflective of the general population (i.e. less aligned to men). In addition, there also appears to be a relationship with time zone, as markets such as Australia and China which aired live games late at night were less likely to attract a more balanced audience.
It is important to note that there are multiple factors that influence the live match profile of the viewers in each market, including time zone, channel platform, cost of access to channel, general interest in football as well as interest in the tournament itself (whether a team from the market is competing). In addition, the general population of a market will also have a bearing.
As was stated earlier, South Africa had a number of these factors at play in the 2014 World Cup which had an impact on television audiences.
Average audience delivery was 55% of that delivered in 2010, a significant impact by the influencing factors.
Lastly let’s take a look at recent audiences for the culmination of the event, the World Cup Final
The official tally for the 2014 final could well see the billion mark being breached.
In Germany an all-time-high audience of 41.89 million viewers tuned in to watch their national team win the World Cup (86.3% share). In comparison, South Africa achieved a 55% share.
The beautiful game continues to dominate the number one rank as the world’s most popular sport and the TV audiences bear testament to that.
Learnings include that fans and audiences will continue to grow irrespective of who the host nation is and audience profiles are key to marketers as these are ever shifting due to a range of factors at play in this space. We need to remain cognisant of this fact before throwing the year’s media budget at a TV event whose primary viewer may have a very different face to what we expected.
Source: 2010 FIFA World Cup Television Audience Report, TAMS
Sean Sullivan is associate media director at The MediaShop
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