Mumbai: The football World Cup finals are a few days away, but soccer fans in India can’t seem to get enough of the action.
According to data from the Nielsen Online BuzzMetrics analysis, Indians are following the games with a passion, with a high number of discussions posted being online and viewership numbers. According to the data Christiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are the most discussed players by Indians online in message boards, blogs, discussion groups and micro blogs (Twitter). They are followed by Lionel Messi and Landon Donovan in terms of volumes of online discussion.
As far as the teams are concerned, data suggests that England is the most discussed team online by Indians in relation to the football World Cup.
England is followed by Brazil and Spain in the second and third place in online discussions. However, when it comes to sentiments, team Germany seems to have garnered the most positive sentiment from Indians in their discussions, followed by Argentina, Brazil and Spain.
“England was loved and hated, but hardly ignored in Indian social media last month. The manner of their exit and the ‘Lampard goal’ controversy was discussed widely. On sentiment, Germany has impressed one and all with their plays in this World Cup and it is no surprise that the blogosphere has nice things to say about them,” says Karthik Nagarajan, associate director, Online and IT Practice, The Nielsen Company.
Interestingly, according to data from TAM Media Reserach, the football World Cup broadcast ESPN Star Sports had a viewership of 53 million Indians with account for 29% of viewers in India since the games started on 11thJune,2010, to the pre-quarterfinal games. Estimates by *Lodestar UM*, a media buying and planning agency, suggest that the broadcaster ESPN Star Sports, which has roped in sponsors such as Vodafone Essar Ltd and Bharti Airtel Ltd’s DTH (direct-to-home) service, Hero Honda and Nokia, among others, will rake in a little over Rs100 crore from the World Cup
The highest television rating was 1.93 percent for the match between Portugal and Brazil played on 25th June, 2010. The average Indian TVR for the games was 0.65 for the 50 matches as well as the opening ceremony for the Cup. The survey showed that the highest viewership for the World Cup had been in West Bengal with and average TVR of 3.04, followed closely by Assam (3.01 average TVR) and Kerala (2.74 average TVR).
But also grabbing the viewer attention were the controversies. The * ‘Vuvuzela’* trumpets were a sore point for many. Upto 3% of the Indian posts online criticised the use of Vuvuzela, however the positive sentiments were ten times more, with 30% Indians survey saying positive things about it online. “Indians are vibrant and fun loving people. They like their drums when they go to watch cricket, so they wouldn’t mind the Vuvuzela either when they are watching the football World Cup matches. It is all a part of the game for Indians,” said Nagarajan.
According to the survey, the media also played a big role in the popularity of football in the country. The recent coverage has added to its popularity. “It is a chain where popularity generates media interest and media interest gets the attention of the much coveted brands and persuades them to associate themselves with the object of popularity, so is with the adrenaline packed game of football,” said Nagarajan.