The Socceroos victory over Iraq at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday night not only saw the national soccer team qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but also delivered record ratings for Fox Sports and Foxtel.
According to overnight ratings, 549,000 viewers who tuned into Fox Sports’ coverage on Foxtel, making the broadcast the third most watched program ever on the subscription television platform. The two top positions are held by the 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final between NZ v Australia, and the final between NZ v France. There was also extended post-match coverage on Fox Sports, with a special edition of the new Back Page Live seeing 67,000 viewers tune in from 10pm to 11pm (#8 program for the night on Foxtel).
Over on free-to-air TV, SBS’s delayed coverage (Fox Sports has exclusive live rights) of the World Cup Qualifier saw 1.117 million viewers tune-in nationally. This saw SBS ONE record a 14.0% audience share for the night, which put it ahead of ABC1 and only 0.5% behind Channel Ten. This is likely to be SBS’s most watched program for the year, unless Cadel Evans can claim a second Tour de France win in the coming weeks.
The high ratings for Fox Sports justifies its decision to invest heavily in Australian soccer since the launch of the A-league.
SBS, as the exclusive Australian broadcaster of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be excited that such a large audience tuned-in for the final World Cup Qualifier, despite its coverage not being live. This ratings success for the government-owned channel starts off what should be a strong few ratings weeks for SBS, as its coverage of the 100th edition of the Tour de France begins.