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Volume 10 No. 25


More than 15 million people in the U.K. "tuned in" to watch England's opening World Cup game versus Italy on BBC One on Saturday, according to the BBC. The TV audience "peaked at 15.6 million just before half-time." The entire broadcast attracted an average audience of 11.5 million, "making it one of the most watched programmes of the year so far" even though the game kicked off at 10pm local time. In comparison, the audience for England's first match at the 2010 World Cup against the U.S. "peaked at 20.1 million," but that game kicked off at 6:30pm (BBC, 6/15). The match was watched by 12.8 million viewers on RAI in Italy (Twitter). In London, Mark Sweney reported ITV’s coverage of Thursday's World Cup opener between Brazil and Croatia "drew a peak audience of 12.6 million viewers." ITV’s coverage, which included the opening ceremony, "attracted an average of 8.2 million viewers and a 40.3% share between 7pm and 11.15pm" (GUARDIAN, 6/13).

QUOTENMETER's Daniel Sallhoff reported German public broadcaster ARD "recorded outstanding ratings for its broadcast of Saturday's World Cup games." The game between Uruguay and Costa Rica, which started at 9pm, attracted 9.46 million viewers. The number translated into a market share of 34.2%. In the target demographic 14-49, Costa Rica's 3-1 victory had a market share of 41.5% as 4.21 million viewers tuned in. The day's first game between Colombia and Greece was watched by 7.14 million viewers and obtained a 39.3% share starting at 6pm. In the target demographic, Colombia's 3-0 win had a 44.7% share. The highest-rated game was the clash between England and Italy. The game, which kicked off at midnight, attracted 7.49 million viewers and had a 56.6% share. In the target demographic, Italy's 2-1 win obtained a market share of 58%. Thursday's World Cup opening match between Brazil and Croatia attracted 15.87 million viewers on German public broadcaster ZDF. On Friday, a total of 14.58 million viewers tuned in to watch the matchup between Spain and the Netherlands on ZDF (QUOTENMETER, 6/15).

During a "turbulent opening day" on and off the pitch in Brazil, anti-World Cup protesters "turned their attention to the ITV studio on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, pelting it with rocks," according to Stuart Goodwin of the London GUARDIAN. ITV World Cup presenter Adrian Chiles "was in the studio alongside pundits Lee Dixon, Fabio Cannavaro and Patrick Vieira during the attack, which occurred during Brazil’s 3-1 victory over Croatia." The resulting damage "included significant marks to large glass panels" (GUARDIAN, 6/13). In L.A., Georg Szalai wrote as the cameras showed protesters outside, studio host Adrian Chiles said, "Celebrations there [in the stadium in Sao Paolo], not so here right outside our studio on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro. This demonstration materialized about 10 minutes before the end of the game. We were all sitting up here, and then suddenly sharp clattering sounds started ... and that was them pelting the glass of our studio." Before "focusing on post-game analysis", Chiles added, "We did try to explain to them none of this is our fault at ITV Sport" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/13). The GUARDIAN reported ITV’s online viewing service was "hit by problems during the opening match of the World Cup." Football fans complained that ITV Player "went down during the game between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday." Responding to "a barrage of criticism" on Twitter, the service said on its feed, “We’re seeing unprecedented numbers of users during the game. We apologise for any inconvenience, we’re working hard to resume normal service" (GUARDIAN, 6/13). Also in London, Tom Payne reported "extra police have now been drafted in to protect the BBC pundits after the turbulent opening day in Rio" (INDEPENDENT, 6/14).

BBC World Cup presenter Phil Neville "could be dropped" from its live commentary team if England reaches the last 16 of the World Cup after a welter of complaints about his “boring” style during the team’s defeat by Italy, according to Gordon Rayner of the London TELEGRAPH. The BBC said that "it had not yet decided who would provide expert commentary" if England reaches the first knockout round of the tournament -- the next England match to which the BBC would have live broadcast rights. The corporation insisted he remained an “important, well respected” member of its team, but privately "questions have been asked about why the former England midfielder was not more thoroughly road-tested before making his World Cup commentary debut." Neville’s "monotonous contribution" to the England vs. Italy commentary on Saturday night "was widely ridiculed on social networking sites," where he was compared to a robot, a computer and a “Dignitas satnav” (TELEGRAPH, 6/15). In London, Danny Walker reported a BBC spokesperson said, "Phil is an important, well respected member of our team and will continue to play a key role throughout the tournament, both as a studio guest and match commentator.” The BBC said that as scheduled, Neville "will be a studio guest" for Iran vs. Nigeria on Monday, Russia vs. South Korea on Tuesday and Nigeria vs. Bosnia on Saturday. Neville "will also be the co-commentator" for highlights of both England vs. Uruguay on Thursday and the match against Costa Rica on June 24th (DAILY MIRROR, 6/15).

European rugby chiefs stand to net "significantly more" than £14M ($24M) "in the most lucrative worldwide broadcasting rights deal for continental competition yet," according to the PA. IMG Media "has won the tender to broker global broadcasting rights for the European Rugby Champions Cup." Industry insiders initially slapped a £14M total on the potential windfall to the European game -- but sources said that "the return is expected to be far greater." One source said, "This deal will certainly outstrip the previous worldwide television arrangements though, and early indications suggest the return will be significantly more than that £14 million figure." IMG "is confident of pulling the sales package together quickly, able to play on the number of world stars embroiled in top-end European competition." European Professional Club Rugby "signed a four-year deal with IMG Media" to sell the broadcasting rights outside the U.K., Ireland and France for the inaugural Champions Cup and Challenge Cup (PA, 6/13).

Barcelona-based newspaper Sport has launched an English version of its website: The launch follows requests from Asian countries and aims to bring the Barcelona universe to the club's fans around the world. The English website follows the publication's Arabic-language site, which launched several months ago (Sport). ... Bangladesh Cricket Board media rights holder Gazi TV has put out a $1M offer for the "rights of the three-match ODI series between India and Bangladesh." The matches are "scheduled to be held on June 15, 17 and 19" (MUMBAI MIRROR, 6/13). ... Indian public broadcaster Prasar Bharati reached an agreement with official World Cup broadcaster Sony Six. The deal is "mandatory under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory sharing with Prasar Bharti) Act 2007 for telecasting a few games of the mammoth event" (INDIAN TELEVISION, 6/13).