Almost half the world tuned in at home to watch 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™
© AFP

The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ was shown in every single country and territory on Earth, including Antarctica and the Arctic Circle, generating record-breaking viewing figures in many TV markets around the world. The in-home television coverage of the competition reached over 3.2 billion people around the world, or 46.4 per cent of the global population, based on viewers watching a minimum of over one minute of coverage. This represents an eight per cent rise on the number of viewers recorded during the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™.

Based on viewers watching a minimum of 20 consecutive minutes of coverage, the 2010 tournament reached nearly a third of the world population with 2.2 billion viewers, or three per cent higher than in 2006, according to data compiled by KantarSport on behalf of FIFA. The average in-home global audience for each match was 188.4 million, up six per cent on 2006, while the highest average audience measured was for the final at 530.9 million, up five per cent on 2006.

Unsurprisingly the competition’s most-watched match was the final between Spain and the Netherlands, which reached 619.7 million in-home viewers based on those watching at least 20 consecutive minutes of coverage. This figure, however, rises to 909.6 million viewers based on watching over one minute and is likely to have surpassed one billion when out-of-home viewers are included. Indeed, all the figures cited do not include people watching out-of-home at the FIFA Fan Fests and other public viewing venues, as well as in pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs, hotels, or even online and via mobile handsets.

“When you consider the increasingly fragmented media environment, where people face ever more choice in terms of the platform, place and time of their viewing selection, these results show that the FIFA World Cup remains a compelling spectacle for viewers around the world,” said Jérôme Valcke, FIFA Secretary General. “The FIFA World Cup was shown in every single country and territory on Earth and with an unprecedented level of TV production geared to serve screens of all shapes and sizes, it was also the first major sports event to be distributed globally across all platforms, namely TV, radio, mobile, broadband as well as in 3D.”

Several records were smashed, most spectacularly in the host nation South Africa and Germany. South Africa’s second match against Uruguay attracted an average live in-home audience of 10.15 million, breaking all previous records including the 1995 Rugby World Cup final; Germany’s semi-final against Spain recorded an average of more than 31 million viewers in Germany, which is the first time in German television history that an in-home audience of more than 30 million has been achieved by a single broadcaster.