The FIFA U-17 World Cup finals have registered the highest viewership amongst international football tournaments aired in India.
The cumulative viewership for the FIFA U-17 World Cup was over 47 million viewers on Sony Pictures Network.
In what could be termed as an unprecedented success story for the sport, BARC ratings prove that coverage of the FIFA U-17 World Cup has rated better than the high profile international football sporting events like FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, English Premier League 2016-17 and La Liga 2016-2017 seasons amongst others.
The 22-day long FIFA U-17 World Cup, broadcast in India by Sony Pictures Network, was watched by over 47 million viewers across India, while the Hindi and Bengali language feeds contributed to around 40% of the overall viewership. The finals between England and Spain in Kolkata’s Salt Lake stadium on 28th October, that witnessed a packed house of almost 67 thousand fans, generated a nation-wide interest scoring an average 2.2 million impressions, the broadcaster has said in a Press release.
Overall, the tournament has rated better than any international football sporting event broadcasted in India. The bulk of the viewership has come from regions like West Bengal, Kerala and North East while the fans in the metros also lapped up the opportunity to catch a glimpse of India’s first-ever FIFA U-17 World Cup held in the country. The viewership demographics have also showcased that almost 45 percent women tuned in to watch the sporting event.
Major reasons behind the astounding success of the FIFA U-17 World Cup coverage has been the performance of India’s Boys in Blue, who put up a respectable fight against their rival teams, which ranked much higher than them. In fact, India’s game against Colombia where midfielder Jeakson Thounaojam, scored India’s first ever goal in a FIFA tournament after he netted a corner, was a Red-letter day for India, with team India games registering an average of 2.6 million impressions per game.
Rajesh Kaul, President, Sports and Distribution Business, Sony Pictures Networks India said “it was a great privilege for India as a nation to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup and an incredible opportunity for us at Sony Pictures Networks India to broadcast the tournament and bring football to the forefront in India. Our efforts towards leveraging and enhancing the popularity of the FIFA U-17 World Cup have yielded excellent results and we hope that this will be a pivotal point for the rise of football in India. We would like to thank FIFA, AIFF and LOC for bringing football’s global standards to Indian shores. I would also like to commend the spirited performance by Team India.”