After kicks, bites and a bagful of goals, the group stage of the football World Cup has drawn what is being described as “an outstanding set of results” for global broadcasters. Research from the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT), which represents the interests of leading commercial broadcasters in 37 European countries, and egta, the association representing television and radio sales houses, has found that while group matches have set new TV records in a number of markets, from Belgium to the US, sales of television advertising and subscriptions have also benefited. The survey data suggests that the tournament has provided the first real evidence of second screen applications growing in popularity. It calculates that 12.2 million tweets were sent during Brazil’s win over Croatia alone as several thousand viewers were watching the games on broadcasters’ online video streaming services. A record number of 42.9 million Brazilians tuned in to see their team’s win over Croatia, 81.3% of whose citizens watched the game (1.5 million). The Belgium v South Korea match was the most-watched football game in the history of television in the former country, reaching 3 million Flemish fans (82.8% of TV viewers) and 2.1 million of French-speaking Belgians (82.1%) while viewing records were reported also in the UK: a peak of 20 million (71% share) watched England v Uruguay, the highest peak audience on any channel since the 2012 London Olympics. The US’s first game drew more than 11 million viewers – the highest-rated football match ever shown on ESPN – and nearly 5 million on a Spanish-language network, and 27.3 million (84.2%) viewers in Germany tuned in to watch Germany defeat the US. Whilst acknowledging that the final audited global figures will not be known for some time, ACT and egta say broadcasters are already optimistic that the viewing numbers for the final on 13 July may approach or even surpass the 909 million who watched the Spain v Netherlands final in 2010.  www.outdoorsportchannel.com  https://twitter.com/OutdoorSportCha

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