Ohhhh yeah. You just knew I had to save the best for last, right? R..iiii...ght.
The FIFA World Cup may be THE reason you not only convert to the game, but you follow it. With a passion. Every country competes in this tournament—from the qualifying, to the finals.
This is association football's showcase event. Check this out: the World Cup was first televised in 1954. The 2010 FIFA World Cup was expected to be the most-watched television event in history. Hundreds of broadcasters, representing about 70 countries, transmitted the Cup to a TV audience that FIFA officials expect to exceed a cumulative 26 billion people, an average of approximately 400 million viewers per match.
FIFA estimated that around 700 million viewers would watch the World Cup final. New forms of digital media have also allowed viewers to watch coverage through alternative means. "With games airing live on cell phones and computers, the World Cup will get more online coverage than any major sporting event yet," said Jake Coyle of the Associated Press.
In the United States, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged a 2.1 rating, 2,288,000 households and 3,261,000 viewers for the 64 World Cup games. The rating was up 31 percent from a 1.6 in 2006, while households increased 32 percent from 1,735,000, and viewers rose from 2,316,000. The increases had been higher while the US remained in the tournament. Through the first 50 games, the rating was up 48 percent, households increased 54 percent, and viewers rose 60 percent. Univision averaged 2,624,000 viewers for the tournament, up 17 percent and 1,625,000 households, an increase of 11 percent.
An executive of the Nielsen Company, a leading audience research firm in the US, described the aggregate numbers for both networks' coverage of the USA-Ghana match as "phenomenal." Live World Cup streaming on ESPN3.com pulled in some of the largest audiences in history, as 7.4 million unique viewers tuned in for matches.
In total, ESPN3.com generated 942 million minutes of viewing or more than two hours per unique viewer. All 64 live matches were viewed by an average of 114,000 persons per minute. Most impressive were the numbers for the Spain-Germany semifinal, which was viewed by 355,000 people per minute, making it ESPN3.com’s largest average audience ever.
It grips countries, cities, people and yourself. That's the power of the beautiful game. It's fun to play and fun to watch. And the FIFA World Cup is the No. 1 reason why soccer is the best and biggest sport on the planet.