The key results of the official Television Report for the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ are released today, based on an independent study commissioned by FIFA's television partner, KirchSport, and compiled by the British research agency Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS).

Television coverage reached 213 countries, virtually every country in the world, with over 41,100 hours of dedicated programming. This represents a 38% increase in coverage over the 1998 event and sets a new record for a single sporting event.Contrary to some expectations, live audiences were not affected by the time zone differences for viewers in Europe and Central and South America. In fact, the cumulative live audience showed an overall increase on the 1998 figures.

Although the overall global audience was down on France 98, this decline was entirely due to the introduction of audited audience measurement in China for the first time, which allows for more accurate reporting. The 1998 Chinese figure was substantially overweighted - as were the Chinese viewing figures for the two previous FIFA World Cups - because they were based on Shanghai City ratings, which were then multiplied nationally to give an estimated audience for the entire country.

FIFA has taken the lead in deciding that a more accurate solution needed to be introduced and that this was the right time to do it. As part of this drive towards a more rigorous approach, the viewing figures for 2002 included more audited viewing data than for any previous FIFA World Cup™.

The cumulative audience over the 25 match days of the 2002 event reached a total of 28.8 billion viewers. The corresponding audience for France 98, with unaudited viewing figures for China, reported 33.4 billion. However, if China is excluded from the statistics for both events, the totals show an increase of 431.7 million viewers (+ 2%) this year.

These impressive figures make the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™ the most extensively covered and viewed event in television history. Despite the time difference between Asia and the major football continents of Europe and South America, record audiences and market shares were reached in many countries.

The 20 most viewed matches of the tournament achieved an impressive average market share of 84.8%. The largest market share, 94.2%, was reached during Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo's coverage of the England v. Brazil quarter-final (46 million viewers and a 30.2% rating). This is an impressive audience for a broadcast that took place at 3.30 am local time.

Viewers the world over demonstrated their willingness to trade sleep for soccer and change their viewing habits and daily routine in order to watch the FIFA World Cup™. In terms of viewer hours, calculated as the total number of hours watched by all viewers, this year's tournament set a new record for a sports event of 49.2 billion worldwide.

Thanks to advances in research methods, it was possible to assess for the first time the viewing figures for out-of-home viewers. This new intelligence is important, given that football viewers' watching habits are changing profoundly. The 2002 FIFA World CupÔ saw exceptionally high levels of out-of-home viewing in public places, such as pubs and bars, and in the workplace. This added 2.5 billion to viewing worldwide. Some public viewing - most strikingly in Korea - ran into millions for single matches.

Out-of-home viewing contributed to the 2002 Final being the most viewed match in FIFA World Cup™ history, with 1.1 billion individuals watching this game.

Summary of key results

The most viewed event in the world

  • Television coverage in 213 countries and over 41,100 hours of programming - a 38% increase over 1998.
  • A cumulative in-home audience of 28.8 billion viewers.
  • Live audiences were not affected by the time zone differences for viewers in Europe and Central and South America.
  • Proper, audited research for China introduced for the first time, which accounted for a 14% reduction in the global audience total when compared to 1998. Taking China out of the equation, the global figure is actually up 2%.

    Excitement, variety, choice

  • Viewing patterns have changed. First proper assessment of out-of-home viewing - a key factor in understanding today's audiences - has added 2.5 billion to the total.
  • Big-screen viewing became a major feature - for example, an incredible 4.2 million Koreans took to the streets to watch their national team's victory over Italy.
  • Futuristic options were on trial, with 16 x 5 wide screen viewing and delivery to mobile phones.

    Many audience records were broken

  • The novel experience of staging a FIFA World Cup™ in Asia provoked an extraordinary response from television viewers.
  • The host continent accounted for 40% of the total audience.
  • In spite of non-prime time viewing hours in Europe, North and South America, many national audience records were broken. Live audiences held up, accounting for 77% of the cumulative FIFA World Cup™ audience and an average of 314.1 million viewers per match.
  • Including the out-of-home viewing figures, live audiences accounted for 87% of the total viewing - an average of 352.6 million per match.

    Record breaking audience shares

  • There were many record-breaking audience shares, in some cases more than 80% or 90% of all active viewers at a particular time were tuned to the FIFA World Cup™ transmission. The 20 most viewed matches achieved an incredible average market share of 84.8%.
  • The largest market share of 94.2% was reached during TV Globo's coverage of the England v. Brazil quarter-final - 46 million viewers and a 30.2% rating. Germany v. Brazil, broadcast in Brazil at 8:00am local time, received the highest overall audience. The match attracted over 52.3 million viewers - an individuals rating of 35.8%.
  • The rating in Germany for the same match was even higher, with coverage by national broadcaster ZDF achieving a rating of 37.8%. This was the highest audience recorded in Germany for the tournament and amounted to over 26.5 million viewers, representing an astonishing market share for ZDF of 88.2%!
  • However, the Final achieved its highest national audience in Japan! A massive 54.1 million viewers watched the match on national channel NHK, representing an all individuals rating of 44.5% and a market share of 76.6%. This compares to a Japanese audience of only 4.5 million for the 1998 FIFA World Cup™ Final when France emerged as Champions against Brazil.

    More women watched the event

  • Soccer has long been seen as the perfect vehicle for sponsors to deliver messages to the dream male demographic, but statistics for the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ indicate that women's interest in the tournament is growing rapidly. For example in Japan, the audience split for the whole of the tournament was virtually even, at 51% men, 49% women. The FIFA World Cup™ attracts audiences outside the typically male-dominated arena of sports broadcasting.
  • In Korea too, there was strong evidence of appeal to both sexes. Korea's decisive group match against Portugal, for example, broadcast by MBC, realised a total audience of just over 3.8 million - comprising 1.9 million women compared to 1.5 million men. The male rating was 16.4%, the female 21%.

    More audited data than ever before

  • This report includes more audited viewing data than any previous FIFA World Cup™. In particular, information sourced in sub-Saharan Africa and fully audited measurement in China. This market contributed 41% (1994) and 33% (1998) to previous audience totals. For 2002, it contributed just 20% of the cumulative total.
  • Excluding China, the total global audience has increased by 431 million viewers over France 98.