The viewership numbers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup are in, and we now have evidence of cricket-crazy India’s appreciation for the biggest footballing spectacle on Earth.
Being hosted by Russia from 14 June-15 July, Sony Pictures Networks India, which is the official broadcaster of the mega event, has announced the numbers its platforms are getting. Some heroic performances and upsets have certainly made this World Cup exciting.
These statistics are drawn from the group stage of the tournament, which had 48 matches and ended on 28 June. Even the starting stage of the tournament received 153.2 million viewers in the nation.
Here are some of the viewership statistics that will certainly send out a positive message for Indian football fans.
- 153.2 million total viewers: This is a new record for the World Cup for the group stage. For the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, viewers only crossed 50 million by this stage. This can be attributed to Russia being a more convenient timezone for the Indian viewer: a majority of the group stage matches started at 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm IST.
- 123.2 million viewers on TV and 30 million live streams: These numbers reaffirm the growth of internet consumption in the country with online viewers being 20% of the total.
- 83.9 million LIVE viewers on TV Sports Channels: The rest of the viewers are counted among those who watched the various reruns or highlights of the exciting games
- 51.5 million rural viewers: Perhaps the most surprising and encouraging number is this figure, which indicates that rural India has also taken to the football pitch on screen. This constitutes 42% of the total TV viewership.
- Biggest Markets for Live Games:
West Bengal - 17.5 million
Kerala - 15.8 million
North East - 9.3 million
Maharashtra/Goa - 9 million
- 47% of Viewers are Female: Another positive metric, it indicates that women and girls are joining in the football fever. Hopefully, more of them will join in on the field. Also, we have no clue how this metric is measured.
- 47% Viewers Prefer Local Languages: Another testament to technological innovation and access, this includes 8 million Malayalam and 7 million Bengali consumers
These numbers certainly sound like a World Cup party has been raging around the country. All we can say is, as the competition enters its final stages, party on!