Television coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ broke a whole host of viewing records during the first round of group matches in Brazil, highlighting the growing popularity of the competition and football around the world.

Opening matches set new audience high’s for 2014 all over the world as fans watched in record numbers in nations such as Brazil, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Argentina, France, the Netherlands, Croatia and Italy. An all-time high was set in French-speaking part of Belgium.

The viewing figures also revealed an impressive increase in USA, Canada and Australia, where the World Cup is helping to drive interest in the game to new levels.

ESPN coverage broke audience records for men’s World Cup matches in USA.
Some of the key figures include:
• 42.9 million watched Brazil and Croatia on Brazilian channel TV Globo, the highest sports broadcast of 2014
• England and Italy’s opener attracted 14.2 million on BBC1 in the UK and 12.8 million on RAI 1, the highest TV audiences in both countries in 2014
• 34.1 million watched Japan play Ivory Coast on NHK, twice the size of next biggest sports broadcast of 2014
• Germany’s win over Portugal reached 26.4 million on ARD in Germany, the biggest 2014 TV sports audience
• The match between the USA and Ghana was watched by 11.1 million on ESPN in the United States, setting a new record for ESPN coverage of a men’s FIFA World Cup match

“These record-breaking figures show just how popular football and the FIFA World Cup is across the world, from Japan to Argentina,” said Niclas Ericson, Director of FIFA TV. “We are seeing highly encouraging growth in interest in markets such as the United States and Australia.

“The FIFA broadcast production of all World Cup matches makes this competition truly global and accessible for fans all over the world. It therefore plays a crucial role in supporting FIFA’s core mission to develop football everywhere, and for all.”

FIFA, which had a net cost of about $150 million on the broadcast production at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, is investing heavily again this year to ensure that football fans everywhere receive the very best viewing experience of 2014 World Cup matches in Brazil.

FIFA has agreed arrangements with more than 160 main Media Rights Licensees for TV around the world, meaning all global territories are able to access the 2014 World Cup. In total, FIFA has approximately 700 licensees across TV, mobile and broadband and radio for the World Cup.

Check out the some of the impressive figures from the first round of matches below:
Brazil v Croatia
42.9 million watched TV Globo in Brazil, the highest sports broadcast of 2014
1.5 million watched HTV2 in Croatia, highest TV audience of 2014

Spain v Netherlands
7.2 million watched Ned1 in the Netherlands, highest TV audience since 2012
9.3 million watched BBC1 in the UK, best performance of Friday night prime time slot in 2014

Chile v Australia
2.3 million watched SBS at 8 a.m. in Australia, third-highest TV sports audience of 2014, more than men’s final of Australian Open.

Côte d'Ivoire v Japan
34.1 million watched NHK at 10 a.m., twice the size of next biggest sports broadcast of 2014

England v Italy
14.2 million watched BBC1 in the United Kingdom, highest TV audience of the year
12.8 million watched RAI 1, highest TV audience of the year

Switzerland v Ecuador
2.0 million watched SRG channels in Switzerland, highest sports audience of 2014

France v Honduras
15.8 million watched TF1 in France, highest sports audience of 2014

Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina
6.9 million watched Canal 7 in Argentina, highest sports audience of 2014

Germany v Portugal
26.4 million watched ARD in Germany, 85 per cent more than next-biggest 2014 sports audience

Ghana v USA
11.1 million watched ESPN in USA - record high ESPN coverage of men’s FIFA World Cup match
4.8 million watched Univision Spanish coverage in USA - higher than any other sport outside of World Cup this year

Belgium v Algeria
2.2 million watched Canvas in Belgium - second biggest TV audience ever in Dutch-speaking Belgium
1.5 million watched RTBF1 in Belgium – highest TV audience ever in French-speaking Belgium

Russia v Korea Republic
11.4 million watched on SBS, MBC and KBS in Korea at 7am, 60 per cent more than normal total TV audience for early time slot