AFC Champs League ratings on the up

AFC Champions League audiences for the group and round of 16 stage matches are up 15 percent to 155 million.

Football News: Fans

The ratings are across Australia, China Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

So far, 104 matches have been played this season. According to Video Research, Japan emerged at the top of the ratings list with 69.85 million viewers, 45.2 percent of the total audience. The matches were broadcast by TV Asahi on their BS and CS Asahi platforms. Japan also topped ratings for this year's AFC Asian Cup 2011 at 43.2 percent of the total audience.

China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Korea follow as the next five highest rated markets.

• In China, nearly 62 million viewers, up 63 percent from the previous year, watched the first and second round matches on state-owned broadcaster CCTV5 and provincial stations. CCTV5 recorded an audience of 44.3 million, up 146 percent from 18 million last year. The average number of viewers per match grew from 324,889 to 426,138.

• Among the markets surveyed, Indonesia recorded the largest audience growth with an increase of 203 percent from 2010. Nearly seven million Indonesians followed Arema Indonesia's group stage campaign on free-to-air network RCTI. The club's huge popularity sent the average ratings per match soaring to 1.16 million from 384,000 last year.

• Total ratings in Korea grew 79 percent from 2010 while the average number of viewers per telecast on SBS Korea and MBC Sports combined grew 17 percent from 39,612 to 46,423.

• This is the first time that television ratings for the AFC Champions League have been available in the Middle-East where 14.36 million viewers in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar followed their clubs on Abu Dhabi Sports, Al Jazeera Sports, Al Kass, Dubai Sports and Saudi Arabia TV.

In Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan and Korea viewership jumped 13 percent, from 124.4 million the previous year to 140.2 million.

"We have seen significant growth in television audiences and live attendances for the AFC Champions League over the past five years and we expect this trend to continue," said Pierre Kakhia, President, West Asia, World Sport Group, the exclusive marketing and media partner of the AFC.

"Asian fans are devoted supporters of their local club teams and as Asia's top club competition, the AFC Champions League has a wide and passionate following across the region. We will continue to provide comprehensive "live" coverage throughout the Asia-Pacific region to ensure that fans don't miss any of the action and excitement from the league."

Aside from the dramatic rise in television audiences, live attendances for the ACL group stage matches have grown by 31 percent since 2005.

The final rounds of the season kick-off on September 14th with the quarterfinals featuring clubs Cerezo Osaka (JPN), Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR), Al-Ittihad (KSA), FC Seoul (KOR), Foolad Mobarekeh Sepahan (IRN), Al Sadd (QAT), Suwon Samsung Bluewings (KOR) and Zobahan (IRN).

The viewership report for the AFC Champions League 2011 was collated by World Sport Group in association with its research partners CSM Media Research and Kantar Sports for China and Korea with Video Research Ltd., Pan Arab Research Center (PARC) and Repucom contributing data from Japan, the Middle-East and Australia/Indonesia respectively. 

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