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World Cup final expected to break TV audience viewing records

Mon 12th Jul 2010 | Television & Broadcasting

A worldwide audience of over 700 million are thought to have watched Spain beat Holland 1-0 in Johannesburg in the 2010 World Cup Final,

The Spanish victory, which sparked scenes of celebration all over the country, was thought by FIFA to have exceeded the total that watched the 2006 Final between Italy and France, which had 700,000 viewers.

And FIFA are hoping that the total will exceed the one billion mark that watched the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

"We don't want to speculate in numbers but we're hoping this will be the biggest [event] ever," said Niclas Ericson, FIFA’s director of television.

More than 20 million those were British viewers, with the BBC drawing more viewers than ITV.

BBC1’s coverage, peaked at 17.9 million, with a 60% share of the audience, figures show. On ITV, which was also showing the final, figures peaked at 3.8 million, a 13% share of the audience.

The game averaged 15.1 million (a 54% share of viewers) on BBC1 and 3.3 million (12%) on ITV1.

The BBC said it had won the highest audience for a World Cup final on the channel since France won the tournament in 1998, and that its figures were up 1.2 million on 2006.

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