FINA Report: 4.5 Billion People Watched TV Coverage of World Championships

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, November 8. THE largest audience of aquatic sports fans tuned in worldwide to watch the best athletes compete at the world championships in Barcelona, according to a press release issued today by FINA.

The world’s governing body for the six aquatic disciplines — swimming, open water swimming, synchronized swimming, water polo, diving and high diving — announced that 4.5 billion people watched the television coverage of the two-week event, much of which was broadcast live in European countries.

The data includes not only live TV coverage, but tape-delayed broadcasts, similar to what American audiences saw in July and August. Highlight packages on news shows, replays and repeat airings were also counted. Some countries featured round-the-clock reporting on the competition, particularly Spain, France and Germany.

The number is higher than what was reported for the 2011 championships. Just 3.7 billion people saw the action from the various venues in Shanghai, and it’s surprising that the number is lower than what is reported for Barcelona, given that the 2011 championships were held in the world’s most populous country.

Interest in aquatic sports is often higher in the post-Olympic year as well, riding the wave of exciting competition seen in London. Even without the presence of Michael Phelps, audiences still had plenty to see on the television screens, from France winning two men’s swimming relays to Spain celebrating a win in women’s water polo.

Full FINA press release:

The 15th FINA World Championships, held in Barcelona (ESP), from July 19 — August 4, 2013 were the most watched ever in the FINA history, reaching a cumulative TV audience of almost 4.5 billion viewers worldwide.

According to an independent report made by the company Kantar Media, specialised in media and TV monitoring, the Championships reached a total of 4.487 billion TV viewers, distributed over six categories of programmes: Live, Sports Magazine, Highlights, News, Repeat and Delayed. This is a significant improvement from the previous edition of the FINA World Championships, in 2011 in Shanghai (CHN), where a total of nearly 3.7 billion TV viewers had followed the competition.

Moreover, for Barcelona 2013, there was a total of 5,156 hours of dedicated coverage (against 4,448 hours in 2011) and the competition was broadcast in 185 territories.

“These impressive figures definitively improve the value and prestige of our main event, the FINA World Championships. FINA and Aquatics are definitively top players in the very competitive sport business market. These results are due to our superb Stars and their outstanding performances, and to the great support received by our 203 National Member Federations around the world”, said the FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione.

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