Record-breaking global TV audience for FIFA’s flagship youth event
“It’s gonna be huge” – the official tournament slogan of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2007 – fulfilled its promise. With a cumulative attendance of nearly 1.2 million spectators at matches in the six venues across Canada, FIFA’s flagship youth event became not only the largest single-sport event in Canada, but also made history beyond the host country’s borders. The popularity of the FIFA U-20 World Cup reached new global levels, with the 52 matches of the prime youth event being sold and distributed to 200 countries and territories around the world. This represents an increase of 67 per cent compared to the previous event in 2005. With millions of people around the globe having access to images of the matches and a dramatic increase in live and prime-time coverage, the U-20 World Cup has become the standard-bearer of international youth football. “FIFA is extremely pleased with the huge success of the global TV distribution and the worldwide appeal of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. It has a long tradition of being the platform from which many great careers have been launched – those of Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho and John Obi Mikel to name but a few. These players thrilled audiences with their great skills on the pitch in previous years and so helped pave the way for the event to become the enormous success it is today. The impressive TV audiences are also a reflection of the high standard of play that has been witnessed over the past few weeks,” explained a delighted FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter. Host broadcaster CBC played a key role in the success of the 2007 competition on Canadian territory with various promotional campaigns in the build-up to the event. The event itself enjoyed a total of 110 broadcasts and over 220 hours of coverage (live or delayed), a first for football coverage in Canada. With the additional free live webcasts of all 52 matches in selected territories on the official website www.FIFA.com, world football’s governing body offered fans from all over the world the most comprehensive event coverage in the history of the competition. Free two-minute highlight videos were also made available worldwide shortly after the final whistle in each match. In line with its change of marketing strategy in late 2004, FIFA decided to manage in-house the TV rights distribution for the post-2006 period. The progress made in terms of broadcast rights sales for the various FIFA youth, women’s and beach soccer events is a result of active and targeted work with broadcast partners around the world. The TV sales strategy focuses on content distribution across several multimedia platforms, from traditional TV to mobile phones, to offer consumers a wide choice and guarantee access to the beautiful game.