Many of those who drove to work at the right time on 14 July claim to have found the Kiwi roads free of the traffic jams that usually typify the morning commute. This fortunate state of the road was largely attributable due to the nation's universities and schools being closed for the winter break, but the fact that 419,000 people (according to Nielsen TAM) tuned in to TV One to watch Germany take on Argentina in the final of the World Cup definitely also played a part.
These overnight ratings of those aged five and over indicate that 42,000 more people watched this year's final than the 377,000 that tuned in four years ago to watch Spain beat Netherlands in South Africa. And although this does show a growing interest in the sport, these ratings are still well below the 1.2 million people who tuned in on 21 September 2013 to watch the America's Cup.
"Our viewers loved when we offered the option to watch the 2013 America’s Cup both online and on television and we were really happy they embraced this way of viewing again with the FIFA [World Cup]," says TVNZ's general manager of programming John Kelly. "We are thrilled with the number of New Zealanders we reached with our coverage on both platforms and about the quality of programme the team offered. Martin Devlin has done an outstanding job as host of every match and Highlights programme, as have our crew who worked tirelessly at all hours and our guest experts Noah Hickey, Steven Sumner and Danny Hay.”
Here's a comparative breakdown of how the World Cup final compared to other events in terms of ratings (please note results for the Rugby World Cup final and FIFA World Cup final have not been consolidated):
It's also worth noting that Sky had broadcast rights to cover all the World Cup games, so its screening of the final would've added some weight to the 419,000 tallied by TVNZ. The full impact of Sky's screening is however difficult to quantify, because the broadcaster has a policy of not making its ratings available to the public.
The popularity of the event was also evidenced in the viewership numbers tallied during the semi-finals, which saw 283,700 watch the match between Brazil and Germany, while 344,700 followed the action between Argentina and the Netherlands.
The most-watched quarterfinal was the match between Brazil and Colombia, which attracted an audience of 214,000 viewers. Looking at the numbers, it seems that the time of the games had a significant impact on live viewership numbers, because both matches played at 4am—France vs Germany and Argentina vs Belgium—attracted comparatively low viewership numbers.
However, the TV-based figures only tell part of the story. In addition to the 400,000 Kiwis that watched the event free-to-air on TV One, over 100,000 viewers also activated the live stream of the final via TVNZ's online hub dedicated to the event.
This number was higher than the live-streaming statistics from either semi-finals, which saw 34,447 fans watch the Netherlands and Argentina and 28,971 watch Brazil's humiliation at the hands of the Nationalmannschaft.
Over the course of the tournament, the TVNZ World Cup hub tallied 800,000 streams, with Kiwis tuning in to watch highlights, live streams and various snippets of catch-up content (450,00 of these were streams of live games).
“The total number of streams has exceeded our expectations," says Jason Foden, TVNZ's general manager of on-demand. "We’re excited that we have the ability to bring live streamed events to New Zealanders, and we look forward to doing so again in the future.”
Interestingly, 24 percent of these live streams were accessed through mobile devices, and this share grew to over 30 percent during weekends, when people were more likely to be away from laptops and desktops.
Given the high levels of engagement generated by the tournament, StopPress asked TVNZ how profitable it was to once again purchase the broadcast rights for 22 live games, but a spokesperson refused to comment in this regard, saying instead that the information was "commercially sensitive".
TAB was slightly less cagey about how lucrative it found the month of the World Cup. According to an article published on the Herald earlier today, the $2 million Kiwis spent on the World Cup final was the third highest for a sporting event in history. This number was surpassed only by the $2.6 million bet on David Tua's world heavyweight title match and the 3.5 million Kiwis hedged on the 2011 Rugby World Cup final.
In addition to this, the semi-final games pulled in a combined total of $3.5 million, and the third-place playoff—a game that some believe shouldn't even be played—pulled in $917,074 in bets.