NEW DELHI: ‘Football Takes Over’ was one of the slogans of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, and the tournament certainly captured the imagination of the nation’s fans.
A total of 1,347,133 spectators flocked to the stadiums, with an average of 25,906 spectators per match, making this the best attended FIFA U-17 World Cup in the tournament’s 33-year history.
The buzz and excitement surrounding India 2017 was not limited to the six stadiums, however.
According to Sony India, the host nation’s FIFA U-17 World Cup opener with USA attracted an audience of 1.8m viewers, while the highest single programme audience for live coverage was 1.1m on SONY Ten 2 when India faced Colombia.
“The fact that it became as big as it did surprised even us,” said Joy Bhattacharjya, Project Director for the Local Organising Committee (LOC), speaking before the final matchday of India 2017.
“If you look at the newspapers, cricket was third news on the sports pages after the semi-finals. The Brazil-England match led it, then after that, it was the Spain-Mali encounter. You cannot believe what a change that is in India. Also, to see 50,000 people in New Delhi and actually cheering for a team after they’ve lost, that kind of sporting spirit has not been seen in India before.”
Sony India aired 879 hours of dedicated coverage across three channels: Sony ESPN, Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 3. This consisted of 241 hours of live coverage, 334 hours of repeat coverage and 304 hours of highlights.
A staggering 71,601,000 viewers watched at least one minute of India 2017 coverage, while the three matches that featured the Indian national team averaged a live match audience of 1,661,000 viewers.