How pervasive do you think the World Cup fever is in India? Initiative Media's ViewerTrack has compiled data to suggest that the opening match for the FIFA World Cup '06 between Germany and Costa Rica drew on average nine lakh Indian TV viewers. The first half had 10 lakh tuning in, while the second half had eight lakh.
This, by far, has been the highest in India among all the other matches played and is nearly four times the viewership of the previous world cup. Says Lynn D'Souza, director (media services), Lintas Media Group: “The viewership numbers are certainly higher than all other sports barring cricket, which gets 20-30 lakh viewers.”
Ms D'Souza also expects the viewership to be higher as the World Cup enters the knock-out stages. Barring the opening match, the most-viewed fixture was that between France and Switzerland, which attracted some seven lakh viewers. The average viewership per match stood at close to 4.5 lakh, but the second half of every match saw a drop of 25% compared to the first half.
Late-night matches, with the exception of Brazil vs Croatia, had fewer viewers. Sweden vs Paraguay had the least number of viewers, with a little under one lakh watching the late-night game.