Jan 27 (Reuters) – Organizers of this year’s women’s soccer World Cup in Australia and New Zealand hope to attract a record audience of up to two billion viewers for the tournament, the chief executive of Football Australia (FA) said. James Johnson.
A FIFA report released in 2019 said 1.12 billion viewers tuned in to the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
“I think (broadcast audience) is a very typical measure. If we can hit two billion people, that really doubles the audience (from France)… We think that’s achievable,” Johnson told the BBC in an interview published on friday
“And we know that we will get a good audience from the traditional football markets, like the UK, like Europe. We are also in a time zone where all the big populations are. Our neighbors are China and Indonesia.
“We are very close to the West Coast of the United States. And we are also very close to India. So there will be so many people who would tune in and watch this competition.”
The 2022 Women’s European Championship, which was won by hosts England, had a projected global cumulative live audience of 365 million, while a record crowd of 87,192 was at Wembley Stadium for the final.
“It was extremely inspiring. We watched that tournament very, very closely. And we took a lot of lessons from that tournament,” Johnson said.
“I think what we’ve seen is that if your first game starts strong, it sets the tone for the tournament. And that’s something we’d love to replicate here Down Under.”
Johnson added that Football Australia had lobbied FIFA to change the venue of Australia’s opening match from the 45,000-seat Sydney Football Stadium to Stadium Australia, which has a capacity of 80,000.
Australia begin their campaign against Ireland before facing Nigeria and Olympic champions Canada in Group B.
The co-hosts enjoyed their first away win over European opposition since 2013 with a 3-1 win against Denmark in October before beating Sweden 4-0 in November for their first win over a top-10 nation in more than a year.
Johnson said the Matildas had played tougher opposition in the build-up to the Women’s World Cup to improve their chances at the tournament.
“As a host we recognize the importance of the host nation going deep into the tournament, we saw that in England with the Lionesses,” said Johnson.
“We think to keep the interest high, it’s important that the Matildas stay in… We think that the team, on their day, playing at home in front of big crowds, can go very deep in the tournament, and yes, it is. maybe they could win it .”
Reporting by Aadi Nair in Nashik, India; Editing by Ken Ferris
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