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ESPN Star goal of more viewers on course
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The buzz of the vuvuzelas at this year's FIFA World Cup might be distracting the players but for the tournament's official broadcasters, ESPN Star Sports, it must be nothing less than sweet music. The closely fought matches so far in the tournament has resulted in the channel getting consistently high viewership ratings for the tournament since day one.

Despite the first match of the tournament not featuring the big names of the tournament, it was witnessed by 19.4 lakh people across India, according to aMap statistics. This is slightly lower than the 19.7 lakh figure reached during the 2006 edition of the World Cup.

But it is nearly double the number of viewers (8.46 lakh average viewership during the June 7-10 week) tuning in to ESPN on an average day.

The first seven matches of the 2010 World Cup has also been much higher than the previous edition. A total of 1.02 crore people have tuned in for the first few matches as compared to 95.7 lakh during the 2006 World Cup.

“I think the biggest reason why there has been consistently high ratings for the World Cup this time is because all the matches have been closely fought between evenly-matched teams,” said an ESPN Star Sports spokesperson.

With the big teams such as Brazil, Spain and Portugal yet to begin their campaign, the broadcaster is upbeat about the viewership for the forthcoming matches.

The channel has been offering 30 ad spots every game each with duration of 30 seconds. The channel has already sold out most of these ad spots with two joint presenting sponsors, Vodafone and Airtel DTH, and three associate sponsors Nokia, Samsung and Hero Honda. There's also a long list of spot buyers which includes Parle Agro, Pernod Ricard, Micromax, BPCL, Coca-Cola and Jhaveri Industries.

The FIFA World Cup over the years has been notching up an increasing number of viewers in India. The 2006 edition in Germany was witnessed by 4.8 crore people while the 2002 edition in Korea and Japan was witnessed by 3.4 crore people.

“We are just three days into the tournament and already it has been a fabulous start. The viewership will only increase as the tournament enters the second week and the important group games and knockout rounds start,” said an analyst.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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