New Delhi: The first four matches of the ongoing Fifa World Cup have garnered 16.1 million impressions across urban and rural India, with the opening ceremony notching up 2.1 million impressions.

The numbers, provided by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) India, represent viewers above two years of age who watched the matches across three channels of Sony Pictures Network, the official broadcast network of the tournament.

Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes. Barc India is the country’s TV viewership monitoring agency.

The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League held over April and May this year had an opening of 213.9 million impressions across urban and rural markets for the first week.

Kerala, Assam/North-East and West Bengal are the top contributing markets to Fifa World Cup viewership.

While 30% of the viewership came from Kerala, Assam/North-East and West Bengal brought in 28% and 20%, respectively.

Soccer accounted for 66% of the week’s total sports viewership, according to Barc.

In a separate statement, Sony claimed viewership of 41 million on television, while more than 6 million people were live on SonyLIV, the over-the-top platform owned by the company, it said.

These matches were watched on Sony’s sports channels, including Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 3 and Sony ESPN.

“This is a significant moment for football fans in the country, as we see a tournament with no Indian representation break viewership records," said Rajesh Kaul, president, distribution and sports business, Sony Pictures Network India.

“It is truly exciting to be a part of the transformation that this beautiful game is going through in India."

Kaul said Sony’s efforts to ensure expansive reach through the regional language feeds has yielded excellent results and they are going to keep the momentum going as the tournament picks up pace. SonyLIV is offering the telecast in six languages—English, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.

Mint had earlier reported that SonyLIV was targeting a viewership of 45 million from the ongoing world cup.

“We are clocking three-five million viewership on the digital platform (both app and website) on a daily basis. The traffic in the first week is almost six times higher than the overall traffic of Fifa U-17 World Cup, which was hosted in India last year," said Uday Sodhi, executive vice-president and head, digital business, Sony Pictures Network India.

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