Sport Industry Column

Broadcasters cash in on soccer

2011-08-08 10:43
Annalie Watt
Comment by Annalie Watt

It’s feasting time for soccer fans – with ‘giant size’ helpings, being dished up by the broadcasters.

The ABSA Premiership alone, enjoyed 395 hours of live and delayed live, TV coverage this past 2010/2011 season on both SABC 1 and SuperSport plus an additional 1506 hours of repeat broadcasts on SuperSport. That adds up to more than 79 days of ABSA Premiership soccer coverage this past season, 13 days more than the 66 days in 2009/2010.

You may say, yes but they’re just filling their broadcast schedules, they have huge surpluses of airtime – on the contrary, they’re attracting viewers. Peak audiences on SABC 1, for the ABSA Premiership, reached 4.9 million viewers whilst peak audiences on SuperSport, reached over 800 000 viewers.

SuperSport has seen a 95.5% growth in peak audiences from 2009/2010 to 2010/2011 – something we have not seen in audience numbers for many many years ! This trend is sure to continue for another season or two. And amazingly, the peak audiences for repeat broadcasts are as high as 195 764 – are we soccer mad or what?

When we looked at research data from a study done in 15 countries including South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the USA and the UK we found that South Africans were far more interested in ‘sport in general’ (85% vs next highest was Germany at 73%) and ‘sport on TV’ (84% vs next highest was India at 73%) than all 14 other countries. And when asked ‘which are the sports you most like to watch on television’ South Africans first choice was football (79%)

It’s interesting to see where the ‘growth in interest’ has come from – AMPS data from December 2009 to December 2010 shows the overall interest in soccer amongst South Africans older than 15 up from 45.5% to 50.7% – it went down to 43.9% in June 2009. June 2010 saw it increase to 48.1% - long may the World Cup be credited for a re-birth in interest in this sport amongst both males and females ! Male interest increased from 61.3% in June 2009 to 66.8 % in June 2010 and interest amongst females increased from 26.6% in June 2009 to 31.2% in June 2010.

This feast can seat many more – long may the feasting last...

* The Business of Sport Column is produced in partnership with the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards 2012. Now in their second year, the Awards have officially opened for entries; an annual opportunity for the rapidly evolving South African sports market to be recognised for its work. Click HERE for more details...or follow us on Twitter: @SportindustrySA

Annalie Watt is a director at Repucom SA


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