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Will key coverage affect World Cup ratings?

There is much debate surrounding this year’s football World Cup in Qatar. From accusations of bribery and fraud in awarding the tournament to the small, wealthy Middle Eastern nation, to criticism of Qatar’s persecution of its LGBTQ+ community and its treatment of migrant workers

However, from the ratings after the first week of the tournament By the numbers, critical coverage didn’t do much to the ratings.

In the United States, broadcasters Fox Sports and Telemundo, respectively Those playing in English and Spanish have gotten off to a good start. Sunday’s opening match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador was watched live by an average of around 7 million people on the two networks. On the digital platforms of Telemundo, Peacock and Telemundo Deportes, an average of 4 million people listened to Spanish radio, with a percentage increase of 1958 1988 World Cup opener between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Fox’s English ratings are up on 202259% , 3.5 million people watched the game at its peak, compared to 1990 1.7 million people who watched the opening ceremony.

But when Team USA played on Monday, things really started to kick in. Nearly million viewers on Fox and Telemundo watched 1- 1 draw, which was viewed by an average of 8.3 million people on Fox’s broadcast and digital platforms and 3.4 million on its Spanish-language service.

Mexico’s match against Poland on Tuesday drew an average of 4.6 million viewers for Telemundo and peacocks across all platforms.

Fox has been careful to avoid any criticism of host country Qatar, with the live host ignoring any and all controversial topics. Fox has a sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways, and several of the Qatar Tourism Board’s tourist attractions were running during the channel’s World Cup coverage, but Fox has denied that its sponsorship deal is affecting its coverage.

North of the border, Canada’s opening game against Belgium drew an average of 3.7 million viewers on sports channel TSN , the main CTV network and the French-language RDS channel.

TSN parent company Bell Media, citing nighttime data from Numeris, said the crowd made the game the most-watched World Cup group match on record. Nelson, Canada). Canada’s last World Cup appearance was at 78. The Opener is the second most-watched sports show in Canada this year, behind the LVI Super Bowl.

Overall, the game was watched by 8.9 million viewers, or about a quarter of Canadians, who watched some or all of the live broadcast, which Belgium won 1-0.

All-sports network TSN avoids discussing human rights and other controversies in Qatar, but CTV news anchor Omar Sachedina is on the ground in Doha to cover political stories, including around migrant workers and restrictions on ChinaTV’s W5 newsmagazine visit in November The fan program 13 will have a segment exploring the World Cup host countries, including oil-rich Qatar Issues of discrimination and abuse have led to the race.

In the UK, the BBC took a tougher stance on Qatar, diverting support for Sunday’s opening ceremony off its main channel, backing presenter Gary Lineker. human rights information presented by

But that stance does not appear to be dampening Britons’ appetite for World Cup football. Eight million viewers tuned in on the BBC to watch England beat Iran 6-2 in Monday’s opening game. Although the ratings of the team’s first game against Tunisia in the 2022 World Cup in Russia dropped significantly, in

Peak .6 million – It should be noted that that match was played at night while Iran played at Airs outside primetime at 1pm in the UK. Another 8 million people watched Monday’s match via iPlayer, the BBC said.

England’s clash with the US should prove to be a bigger draw thanks to Friday’s 7pm prime time and their century-old rivals, although the overall numbers may be unknown as the overall numbers are expected There will be a large number of people watching at the bar.

Wales, meanwhile, went to their first World Cup since 1990, beating their old In terms of viewers, local competitors peak at about 10 million to watch their tenacious 1 – 1 clash with USA on ITV (the 7pm kick-off no doubt helped that figure). , the evening slot and the fact that the two neighbors have never faced off at the World Cup before should have provided the BBC.

However, in Germany, the official World Cup broadcasters ARD and ZDF widely Qatar’s human rights abuses and calls for a boycott of the World Cup have seen ratings plummet at previous World Cups so far.

Germany’s surprise 1-2 loss to Japan on Wednesday drew just 9.2 million viewers on the ARD despite an earlier kick-off – 2pm German time —may also play a role. Compared to nearly The audience is only a small part of it. World Cup in Russia (Mannschaft also lost 0-1 to Mexico).

The ZDF drew just 6.2 million German viewers in Sunday’s opening game, where hosts Qatar lost 2-0 to Ecuador. Comparison: More than million Germans watched Russia vs Saudi Arabia Arab’s first match at the World Cup 1990.

In a pre-match group photo, German players cover their mouths in silent protest against football’s governing body FIFA threatening to sanction players if they wear rainbow-coloured ‘OneLove’ armbands As part of a campaign to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ rights. Consensual relationships between same sex are illegal in Qatar. FIFA claims armbands violate its ban on “political symbols”.

“ Even without armbands, our stand stands,” read the official tweet from the German Football Association (DFB), along with a photo of players covering their mouths. “We want to set an example for the values ​​we live in our national team : diversity and mutual respect. Join other nations in raising our voices. This is not about a political message: human rights are non-negotiable. “

Wir wollten mit unserer Kapitänsbinde ein Zeichen setzen für Werte, die wir in der Nationalmannschaft leben : Vielfalt und gegenseitiger Respekt. Gemeinsam mit anderen Nationen laut sein. Es geht dabei nicht um eine politische Botschaft: Menschenrechte sind nicht verhandelbar. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/ v9ngfv0ShW

— DFB Team (@DFB_Team) November18,

And the German players don’t have the German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wearing the OneLove armband and sitting with FIFA President Gianni Next to Gianni Infantino, she proudly wears her armband.

The OneLove controversy has already cost Germany: one of the national team’s sponsors the Rewe chain Supermarket cancels deal with DFB after team bows to FIFA demands to remove captain’s armband.

“We stand for diversity and football is diversity,” Rewe boss Lionel Souque said in a statement. “Fifa’s scandalous behavior is completely unacceptable to me, the CEO of a diverse company and a football fan,” it said in a statement. “

After Germany’s loss to Japan, some local media blamed the debate on OneLove armbands and the team’s pre-match protests.

“There was too much drama in the build-up, too many issues bigger than football, like four years ago [when Germany went out in the first round], the ex-Germany captain and 2018 World Cup winner Lothar Matthaeus in the tabloid Bild. “That kind of thing messes with your focus, distracts you – so it means you might be missing the key five or 13 percent.”

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK made little mention of the protests or controversy, yet scored an impressive 26.6% Tokyo market share for its coverage of the German-Japanese match, despite being late 59 Japan afternoon tee off. Millions more watched the game on streaming platform Abema with record viewership ratings 12 There were also no signs of protest on Wednesday, according to parent company CyberAgent Inc.

, as World Cup champions France took control of Tuesday’s opener against Australia. Played in the game. Les Bleus also have no problem attracting home crowds. According to the rating group Médiamétrie, 13.40 Millions of locals tuned into national network TF1 to watch France beat Australia 4-1 with as many viewers as .53 Million Views France’s first game in Russia, also against Australia 1990.

Alex Ritman in London and Etan Vlessing in Toronto contributed to this report.

2022

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