Australia's hosting of the AFC Asian Cup continues to go from strength to strength, with the success of the tournament to date reverberating around Asia.
Television viewership figures for the group stages of the tournement in China, Japan and Korea Republic have hit record numbers while the number of people attending the games has reached 395,892.
In addition statistics show the tournament is having the same huge impact on Social Media.
The Socceroos opponents in tonight's knockout quarter-final, China, have led the way with audiences growning as the national team advanced through the group stage with three consecutive wins.
The cumulative average viewership in China for China matches at Australia 2015 (27.5 million, including CCTV-5 and the regional broadcasters) was already higher, after two matches, than the cumulative average viewership in China for all the China matches at Qatar 2011 (23.8 million).
For their third match, against DPR Korea, the average viewership for the live broadcast on CCTV-5 was 16.17 m, with the peak viewing estimated to be 30 million and reach 52.4 m.
The game, which was broadcast from 17:00-18:45 in China, scored the highest TV audience for the pre prime-time timeslot since January 2013 when tennis star Li Na played the final of the Australian Open.
“Such high TV audiences for a football game are rare in China, and usually happen only during prime-time. It has been many years – actually more than a decade - since the National Team has attracted such attention on TV," said Pierre Justo, Director of CSM Media Research Sports & Media Dpt, who compiled the data.
“The good thing now is that China won’t probably have to wait long to see even higher ratings on Thursday when China will challenge Australia in the hope of reaching the semi-final of the AFC Asian Cup,’’ Justo added.
Total average viewership in the homeland of reigning champions Japan approached 50 million for the three matches on leading national broadcaster TV Asahi. Japan’s first match, against Palestine, achieved an average viewership of 16.0%, which equates to approximately 16 million people.
Japan’s second match, against Iraq, achieved an average viewership of 14.8%, which equates to approximately 15 million people. Japan’s third match, against Jordan, achieved an average viewership of 15.5%, which equates to approximately 15.5 million people.
Audiences also grew in the Korea Republic as their national team progressed through the group stage. Their third match, against the Socceroos, achieved an average viewership of 4.57m on national broadcaster MBC, representing 10% of the population. The reach was 11.4 m or 23.4% of the population.
The average viewership was 2.5 times more than the team’s first match against Oman (1.8 m) and three times more than the team’s second match against Kuwait (1.3 m).
Viewership for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) matches in neighboring Korea Republic has also been high, with 658,000 people watching their opening match against Uzbekistan.
In sync with the record levels of television viewership has been the outstanding turnout of fans at the stadiums. So far 24 games have been played and it is forecast that the attendance figures will reach 500,000 after the quarterfinals.
"Australians have embraced the AFC Asian Cup in record numbers and it's great to see the rest of Asia watch the tournament with the same excitement," Local Organising Committee CEO Michael Brown said.
"The eyes of Asia and the world are on Australia and the wonderful football being played here."
There have also been incredible levels of activity on the AFC Asian Cup Social Media platforms since January 4.
The official Twitter feed #AC2015, which is running in five different languages has reached over 1.82 billion, making it one of the most talked about Asian football events in history.
Followers on Facebook have grown by 73% and posts by Weibo (Chinese social media) have reached over 187 million users.
With the AFC Asian Cup starting its quarterfinals phase today these statistics and numbers are set for a massive and exponential increase.
The Socceroos will face China PR in the Quarter-Finals of the AFC Asian Cup at Brisbane Stadium on Thursday 22 January (8.30pm local kick off). Click here to purchase tickets.
The match will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports 505 and LIVE on ABC 1 around the country.
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