If Nielsen’s World Cup ratings are anything to go by, then it seems that the Kiwi appetite for football has grown over the last four years.
On 13 June, 215,000 Kiwis tuned into TV One to watch the opening match of the tournament, a significant jump up from the 61,000 that tuned in for the 2010 opener in South Africa.
This significant spike was also reflected when it came to the comparative ratings between England’s first games in each tournament.
Four years ago, only 92,000 fans tuned in to watch England’s first game against Germany, while 299,000 watched England lose to Italy this year.
“We’re delighted with the figures,” says TVNZ spokesperson Georgie Hills. “The tournament has really performed beyond expectations for us.”
Although this jump in viewership has been impressive, football enthusiasm isn’t the only reason for the higher numbers this year—the screening times also play a part.
Four years ago, when the tournament was held in South Africa, both games took place at 2am in the morning, whereas the games from this year were more likely to coincide with open eyes.
While TVNZ will no doubt be pleased with these high viewership numbers, they still lag way behind the figures recorded during the America’s Cup, which saw 1,2 million people tune in on 21 September.
Hills says that online viewership also reached 200,000 streams recently, and says that TVNZ will release further data in this regard early next week.
And, in an effort to push viewership even further, Hills says that TVNZ has also decided to effect some changes to its broadcast schedule.
“Next week TV One was going to be showing Spain versus Australia. Now that Spain are out, we’ve made the call to air a higher stakes match: Netherlands v Chile on Tuesday the 24th between 3.30am and 6.00am. This game is a battle for top place in the group and the loser plays Brazil.”