Manchester set a club television audience world record

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    An estimated 650 million television viewers worldwide watched the Man City-Man United blockbuster at Etihad Stadium yesterday, City’s home ground.

    A staggering stat for a club game, which Man City won 1-0 to edge in front of their bitter rivals on top of the EPL table with just two rounds to go.

    City hasn’t won the title for 44 long years, while United has worn the crown for 12 of the 26 years Sir Alex Ferguson has been in charge.

    Taking the 650 million as read, as there are no foolproof methods of accuracy, that makes a club game the world record holder of viewers for a non-international sporting event.

    And that’s significant.

    The most viewed sporting event in history during a multi-day event is the 4.7 billion who watched the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games at some stage, the equivalent of 70% of the world’s population.

    An estimated 984 million watched the opening ceremony in Beijing, and 778 million took in the closing ceremony – both records for a daily international sporting event.

    The 2006 FIFA World Cup final between Italy and France is next in the pecking order of television viewers with 715 million.

    Then the Manchester intra-city shootout with 650 million.

    And surprisingly, cricket gets a look-in with the final of the 2011 World Cup between India and Pakistan with 400 million. Although it would be safe to say the figure wouldn’t be nearly so high had India failed to reach the decider.

    To put sport in perspective to world events, the live Elvis Presley “Aloha from Hawaii” program in 1973 and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton last year both attracted a billion viewers.

    The Prince Charles-Diana wedding 900 million viewers, the Diana funeral 850 million, while the Michael Jackson memorial service attracted 800 million.

    And the first walking on the moon by Neil Armstrong 530 million – a staggering stat for as long ago as 1969 which was 14% of the world’s population at the time with far fewer television sets.

    The Australian sporting television audience record is the 4.05 million who watched the Lleyton Hewitt-Marat Safin final of the 2005 Australian Open.

    Next best the final of the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Sydney between the Wallabies and England with 4.02 million, and the 3.56 million watching the 2006 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Melbourne.

    The next two were successive AFL grand finals – in 2005 between the Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles (3.39 million) and the Eagles-Swans decider in 2006 with 3.14 million.

    It all goes to prove sporting television has not only improved dramatically and technically, but the worldwide coverage has become blanket. And invariably live.

    Let’s face it, sport gives a whole lot more pleasure and excitement than news coverage.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (147)

    • May 2nd 2012 @ 6:49am
      Manoa said | May 2nd 2012 @ 6:49am | ! Report

      Absolute rubbish. Less than 100 million people would have watched. Somebody has posted the article before on the roar. I’ll try to find the link. It’s written by a journalist in the independent and he dispels the myths of tv audiences. He works out the actual audience for the top 5 in 2007. The highest audience wordlwide in 2007 was the superbowl with 132 million. The champions league final was 43 million from memory.

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      • Columnist

        May 2nd 2012 @ 7:51am
        David Lord said | May 2nd 2012 @ 7:51am | ! Report

        Manoa, the 650 mill was reported worldwide not in some little independent newspaper.

      • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:25am
        Titus said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        There is no way that the Super Bowl would outrate a UCL final, so I will go with Davids more realistic figures.

        • May 2nd 2012 @ 12:06pm
          Michael said | May 2nd 2012 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

          Manoa is a hoax. 10 minutes in the bin for comments. Euro finals not only have continental Europe as viewers but Africa, Asia and South America. Super Bowl has US and oh Canadiens. Check the stats

    • May 2nd 2012 @ 7:00am
      Naranja said | May 2nd 2012 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      It’s been reported that were M United put up for sale, with the new owners assuming their huge debts, the asking price would be around a billion five. And that’s pounds we’re talking about. All this from kicking an old soccer ball around the gas works.

    • May 2nd 2012 @ 7:05am
      Sammy said | May 2nd 2012 @ 7:05am | ! Report

      Your right manoa. The worlds biggest beat up. I’ve read that article. It says that the global tv audience for the 2007 cricket world cup final was 12 million.

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    • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:17am
      Sammy said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      David, It was an investigation by The Independant in the UK. It’s written by Nick Harris and titled “Why FIFAS claim of 1 billion is only a quarter right” Google it.

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    • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:34am
      Futbanous said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      Whether 650 million is on the money who knows ,but you can guarantee it was a significant viewing audience. Shame the game didn’t live up to the hype, but for me what is remarkable having grown up on English football is the global reach the EPL now has.
      The old First Division had fans outside England(even here given the popularity of Brian Moores Big Match) but it was small time compared with the EPL.

    • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:35am
      oikee said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      Oh Lordy Lordy David, does that mean the soccer players can now command another 10 million a game, oh Lordy Lordy.
      And to think, i was one of those 650 million, and i never even knew the game was on.
      To be totally honest, out of all those programs you have quoted above, the only one i watched was the landing on the moon. And i was made watch that one at school by the teachers. Had it forced on me.

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