The 48 group stage matches at soccer's ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar were attended by 2.45 million spectators, the global governing body has announced.
That is higher than the 2.18 million who attended group stage games at the previous edition of the prestigious national teams tournament in Russia in 2018 but translates to an average capacity rate of 96%, which equals that of the group stage games in Russia.
FIFA released the attendance figure on Saturday (December 3) alongside the statistic that the highest attendance in a World Cup game since 1994 was secured during the match between Argentina and Mexico.
That game, a pivotal encounter that heavyweights Argentina won 2-0, was watched by a crowd of 88,966 at Lusail Stadium.
Colin Smith, FIFA’s chief operating officer for the Qatar event, said: “The figures already achieved throughout the group stage speak for themselves – we are on track to deliver a successful and unforgettable World Cup.
“The whole world is following with excitement on TV as new records are set every day.”
FIFA has also announced that its FIFA Fan Festival at Al Bidda park in Qatar’s capital of Doha has now welcomed over 1 million fans since opening at the start of the 64-match tournament, or 70,000 visitors a day on average.
The World Cup began on November 20 and runs through December 18.
n terms of those TV viewing numbers, the recent round-of-16 clash between the Netherlands and the US brought in a peak audience of 16.36 million in the US for broadcaster Fox Sports.
Fox announced after Saturday’s game – which the Netherlands won 3-1, meaning the Dutch progressed to the quarter-finals – that the average viewing figure for the fixture was 12.96 million, up 163% from the average viewing figure for round-of-16 games at the Russia edition.
The peak viewing figure came in the 15 minutes immediately before full-time.
Fox, which is sharing World Cup viewing rights with Spanish-language station Telemundo and with the Peacock streaming service run by national network NBC, has also said that the streaming numbers secured are the second-best of the tournament so far.
The aggregate average viewing figure across Fox Sports, Telemundo, and Peacock for the US’ last group-stage World Cup game, against Iran, was 15.5 million.
Elsewhere, French free-to-air broadcaster TF1 secured an average viewing figure of 14.32 million (a 68.9% audience share) for France's 3-1 win against Poland, also in the round of 16, yesterday (December 4).
This, it has been reported, is the highest audience of the year for TF1.
BeIN Sports, the international pay-TV network, also holds live World Cup rights in France, covering all games while TF1 shows a select 28 matches.
The other round-of-16 clash on Saturday, Argentina’s 2-1 win against Australia, was watched by 16.4 million viewers in Brazil through commercial broadcasting giant Globo.
Across the country’s two largest cities, 2.74 watched in Rio de Janeiro and 4.52 million in Greater Sao Paulo.
For Brazil’s final group-stage game, a last-minute defeat to Cameroon after qualification had been sealed during the previous match, 34.2 million tuned in.