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World Cup viewing figures soar as China switches on

A surge in Chinese interest in the World Cup could offer advertisers a huge new market as television viewing figures for the tournament soar.
The average audience for this year’s tournament in the group stage across the world has jumped to 815m viewers, easily surpassing the 623m average for the entire 2014 World Cup, Fifa figures have indicated.
Chinese advertisers, such as property giant Dalian Wanda and smartphone maker Vivo, have ramped up their spending for the tournament. Chinese companies’ sponsorship makes up a third of the event’s total advertising revenue and their spending has climbed to $835m (?628m). The US, the second largest advertising spender for the tournament, lags far behind, putting in just $400m.
According to Reuters, Wanda Sports boss Yang Hengming said the surge in Chinese advertisers "will be good for the sport in China to develop" and is "happy to see other Chinese companies follow our footsteps".
In the UK, ITV is expected to be one of the big winners from ad spending on the tournament. The broadcaster holds the rights to England’s money-spinning semi-final match against Croatia on Wednesday.
World Cup viewing figures soar as China switches on

England Manager Gareth Southgate

Credit:
DYLAN MARTINEZ/Reuters
Although China failed to reach this summer’s World Cup, it dominated the table of so-called one-minute reach figures, occupying all 10 of the top spots.
The world’s four most populous countries – India, China, US and Indonesia – all failed to reach the tournament and interest in China is growing despite only qualifying once, in 2002.
Following the group stages, China has recorded 14 out of the top 20 largest TV audiences and 45m viewers tuned in for Argentina’s clash with Iceland in the group stages. Viewing figures for 11 matches in this year’s group stage beat the average audience during the 2014 World Cup final.
Traders on currency markets have also been gripped by the tournament. Bank of America Merrill Lynch found the daily volume of the 20 major currencies dipped 30pc on average in the 2014 World Cup compared to historical levels as “traders are occupied” by matches. Trading activity then surged 15pc in the week following the final.
It warned that events that would normally generate higher levels of trading, such as the ongoing spat between the US and its major trading partners over tariffs, are “potentially being underpriced as trade activities are delayed until after the final game”.
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