Initiative, part of Lintas Media Group, has published its ViewerTrack global trends report for 2007, ranking the world’s most watched live TV sports events. The report has been produced by Initiative’s global sports consultancy division, Initiative Sports Futures. The top 10 events, drawn from a pre-selected list of 15 events viewed worldwide, are chosen for both their sporting importance and commercial value.
Leading the field is the NFL Super Bowl. Even though more than 90 per cent of its global TV audience comes from one single country, the US, it nevertheless is consistently the world’s most watched TV sporting event in odd-numbered years. While in even-numbered years it is always beaten in terms of TV audiences by at least one of the FIFA World Cup Final, UEFA European Championships Final or the IOC Summer and Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies. None of the other quadrennial or annual events can compete with the unique appeal of the NFL Super Bowl. An average live global audience of 97 million people watched the Indianapolis Colts defeat the Chicago Bears.
The ICC World Twenty20 Championship match between India and Pakistan features in the 10th place with an average live global audience of 20 million people. Even though 2007 was the inaugural year for this event, it still nevertheless beat the ICC World Cup Final between Australia and Sri Lanka in the TV-viewing stakes. This reflected the unique appeal of the Indian team to cricket fans, and also the success that Twenty20 cricket has had in attracting fans to the sport.
Lynn de Souza, Director, Media Services, Lintas Media Group, said, “The shorter form of the game telecast during prime time enabled office goers to come home and enjoy a night of good fast paced cricket. Even a busy person like Shah Rukh Khan could see an entire game. This clearly led to a bigger pie for cricket in the global eyeball game.”
She further said, “Initiative Sports Futures’ league table of the most popular televised sporting events of the year is very different from that which would be produced if based on typically reported audiences. It is vital to draw these differences between actual and reported TV audiences to the attention of sponsors. Reported audiences often reflect the potential number of viewers, or include news clips within the total audience figures. Given that people seeing a sports event on the news are often ‘accidental’ viewers, it is important to distinguish between them and people who make an active decision to watch a sports event live. Using the latter approach, Initiative’s research shows which events draw a true global audience, and which ones struggle to gain an audience beyond a handful of countries.”
Following NFL Super Bowl is FIFA World Championship-Brazilian Grand Prix, which was followed by the European Champions League Final. The IRB World Cup Final comes in the fourth place, followed by World Athletics Championships; MLB World Series; IIHF World Men’s Handball Championship Final; US Masters (Final Day); Wimbledon, and finally the ICC World Twenty20 Championship Final – in that order.