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Africa Has Caught the World Cup Fever

June 20, 2014


What is one thing that people love across the world? Sports. The world's most popular sport? Soccer, or football depending on where you live, and right now, people across the world are especially obsessed with the game. The FIFA World Cup, the world's largest soccer tournament held every 4 years, is taking place right now in Brazil, drawing the eyes of millions. Just how many people are watching?

Global survey platform Geopoll released several findings regarding the TV ratings, audience size, and demographics within African countries, following several FIFA World Cup games on June 18. The numbers are astounding.

A Group F match between Nigeria and Iran, both known for their excellent defense, ended on June 16 with neither team managing to score a point. The game was played on prime time in Nigeria, drawing a massive 17.5 million, 20 percent of the adult population of Nigeria. The most watched game in Africa so far had 25 million adult viewers across the continent tuning in.

The June 16 Group G Germany-Portugal match, ending with Germany scoring 4 goals against Portugal's 0, drew in a young crowd across Africa. Within the age group of 15-24, there were 3.5 million Nigerians, 1.7 million Ghanians, and 900,000 Kenyans tuning in.

Geopoll's report noted that the first game of the World Cup, between Brazil and Croatia, drew 3.5 million viewers from Ghana. Yet, for the game between Ghana and the United States, in which the United States won with 2 points against Ghana's 1, the viewership dropped to 2.4 million. Geopoll notes that the likely reason for this is that the later game took place at 10pm in Ghana.

Viewership across Africa seems to be quite high. Nigeria and Ghana have the highest amount of interested viewers, with an average of 14 percent of Nigerians and 10 percent of Ghanians watching each game. Other countries that have shown a high interest include Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Gender was another demographic observed by the Geopoll survey, revealing that men are a higher portion of the viewers. In Ghana, 72 percent of viewers were male, while Nigeria's viewership was 62 percent male.

The World Cup is indeed still in its early stages. Viewership in Africa, where television sets are not as widespread and access to the games is more difficult due to timezones, is also likely to be smaller than in other more developed areas. Yet, 25 million is no small number. As the World Cup continues to be fought for, more viewers are likely to be drawn in, with the worldwide numbers being even more impressive.