MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia set a new record of audience in the history of world football championships as over half of the world’s population watched matches "on TV at home, out of home or on digital platforms," the FIFA said in a statement on Friday.
"FIFA has today published the key findings of a comprehensive audit of consolidated final audience data for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which was broadcast live in every territory around the world from 14 June to 15 July this year," the statement reads.
"A combined 3.572 billion viewers - more than half of the global population aged four and over - tuned in to world football’s ultimate competition, according to audience data for official broadcast coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup."
Citing the figures from the report, FIFA stated that "The global in-home TV audience watching at least one minute of coverage totaled 3.262 billion, while a further estimated 309.7 million people watched no coverage in home but caught the action on digital platforms, in public viewing areas or in bars and restaurants, boosting the total audience by 9.5%."
The 2018 World Cup in Russia also surpassed previous record figures set at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
"The report also reveals that, on average, viewers watching on TV at home engaged with the coverage for longer than in previous FIFA World Cups: the number of viewers catching at least three minutes of the 2018 edition was 3.04 billion, a 10.9% increase on Brazil 2014. Meanwhile, the audience watching for at least 30 minutes was 2.49 billion, way up on 2014’s 1.95 billion viewers."
Commenting on the figures from the report FIFA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Philippe Le Floc’h, said "These figures really do support the claim that Russia 2018 was the best World Cup ever."
"We’re particularly pleased to see an increase in the average time viewers are engaging with matches, which shows that we are giving the fans what they want," the FIFA official said. "The fact that half the world’s population watched the FIFA World Cup reflects not just the high quality of our award-winning live coverage, but also that fans everywhere are insatiable for world-class football."
This summer Russia hosted its first-ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a remarkable opening show at Luzhniki Stadium on the evening of June 14 and ended with a spectacular final match, played also at the Luzhniki Stadium, where France confidently defeated Croatia 4-2 to win the much-coveted World Cup Trophy.
Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they were Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The national football team of hosts Russia managed to make it to the quarterfinals stage of this world championship, where Croatia edged them out in a 4-3 penalty shootout win on July 7 at the Fisht Arena in Sochi.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said after the world championship that Russia staged "the best World Cup ever.".