Failure to qualify for Cup does not dampen TV audiences

LONDON - Initiative's most recent ViewerTrack shows that TV audiences for World Cup 2006 are very high in a number of countries that have not qualified for the tournament.

Football is a truly global game that appeals to people right across the world, even when there is no direct local involvement.

Among non-participating countries, the World Cup has so far been most popular in Hungary, relative to the size of its population. Each match has been watched by an average of 13% of its population. Very high ratings have also been achieved in Bulgaria (12%), Norway (10%) and Austria (10%).

These average ratings are even higher than in a number of countries whose teams are playing at the World Cup. In the UK, only 9% of the population has watched on average so far, and in France that figure is only 8%.

Major international soccer tournaments often draw large audiences among non-participating countries. At the last World Cup, half of the top 16 countries ranked by average audience did not qualify for the tournament.

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