Initiative futures sport + entertainment, a specialist unit of Initiative Worldwide, which is aligned to the Lintas Media Group and Karishma Initiative in India, has released its 2009 ViewerTrack, an annual report that details the sports viewership pattern across the world.
According to the report, in India, it is still Cricket that remains the most loved sport. India has the highest live TV audience for the ICC World Twenty20 and the Indian Premier League (IPL). The ICC World Twenty20 had a total audience of 32 million, while for IPL it was 23 million.
With the IPL being hosted in South Africa, it proved to be the country with the second highest average live TV audience. The audience figures for IPL are expected to rise again in 2010 due to the tournament returning to its domestic Indian market.
One of the key findings was that while TV audiences continue to remain fragmented around the world, televised coverage of ‘premier’ live sporting events is bucking the trend and pulling in ever greater number of viewers each year. Major live sporting events, such as NFL Super Bowl and the UEFA Champions League Final, are reaching larger global television audiences than ever before.
Premjeet Sodhi, Chief Planning Officer, Lintas Media Group, noted, “Sport continues to be a major draw for viewers, and as globalisation increases, accurate measurement and analytics from a global perspective is extremely important in taking investment decisions for multi-country brands.”
ViewerTrack also reveals that of the 20-plus top sporting events that it monitors annually, it is the biggest televised events that are growing the most in terms of viewership. Two sporting events that have seen significantly healthy growth in audience figures are the UEFA Champions League Final and the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships Men’s Singles Final. The 2009 UEFA Champions League Final achieved a total audience of 206 million. This represents average audience growth of 4 per cent, as compared to 2008, and 19 per cent in 2007. The Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final saw growth of 14 per cent in its average live global audience between 2008 and 2009, taking it to 29 million people. Its total audience was 89 million people.
The global audience for the UEFA Champions League Final has grown by a massive 74 per cent since 2004. The Super Bowl’s global audience increased by 7 per cent over the same period, as the vast majority of this audience is US-based. This increase represents impressive growth in one of the world’s most fragmented TV markets.
Rank one is Soccer – the UEFA Champions League Final (Barcelona versus Manchester United) with 206 million of the total audience, followed by American Football NFL Super Bowl XLIII (Pittsburgh Steelers versus Arizona Cardinals) with 162 million and Formula One FIA World Championship – Bahrain Grand Prix with 115 million audience.
Ranked 16 was the ICC World Twenty20 Final (Sri Lanka versus Pakistan) with 32 million and ranked 20 was the Indian Premier League Final (Deccan Chargers versus Royal Challengers Bangalore) with 23 million of the total audience.
With major sporting events cutting across geographical and cultural boundaries; their appeal is getting ever broader. As emerging markets, particularly Asia, become more affluent, their population has more leisure time and they are choosing to watch sporting events on television.