Indians discussing soccer WC online: Nielsen

MUMBAI: The football fever is gaining momentum as the World Cup approaches its final stages with the most interesting and tough games lined up in the coming days. Indians are following the games with a passion and this is being seen in the discussions posted online and the viewership numbers.

According to Nielsen Online BuzzMetrics analysis, Christiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are the most discussed players by Indians online in message boards, blogs, discussion groups and micro blogs (Twitter). They are followed by Lionel Messi and Landon Donovan in volumes of online discussion.
Among the teams, England is the most discussed team online by Indians in relation to the Football World Cup. It is followed by Brazil and Spain in the second and third place in online discussion. However, when it comes to sentiments, Germany has garnered the most positive sentiment from Indians in their discussions, followed by Argentina, Brazil and Spain.

Nielsen associate director, online and IT practice Karthik Nagarajan says, "England was loved and hated, but hardly ignored in Indian social media last month. The manner of their exit and the ‘Lampard goal‘ controversy was discussed widely. On sentiment, Germany has impressed one and all with their plays in this World Cup and it is no surprise that the blogosphere has nice things to say about them."

World Cup Viewership: The Football World Cup had a viewership of 53 million Indians with a 29 per cent reach since the games started on 11 June, 2010, to the pre-quarterfinal games, according to viewership data from Tam.

The highest television rating (TVR) was 1.93 per cent for the match between Portugal and Brazil played on 25 June, 2010. Average TVR for the game was 0.65 for the 50 matches plus the opening ceremony of the Cup. As expected the highest viewership has been in West Bengal with 3.04 average TVR, followed closely by Assam (3.01 avg. TVR) and Kerala (2.74 avg. TVR).

The average viewership for the 2006 World Cup was higher than the average viewership for the 2010 games till date. The highest rating match in 2010, Portugal versus Brazil, got an average TVR of 1.93 per cent, whereas the highest rating match in 2006 was the Quarter Final played between Germany and Argentina, which gained a TVR of 4.3 per cent. 
World Cup Top Advertisers : The telecom sector, which includes cellular phones and cellular phone services were the top two categories advertised during the World Cup as per Tam findings. The other categories advertising in the top ten were two wheelers, non-aerated soft drinks, DTH Service providers, lubricants, aerated soft drinks, cars/jeeps, televisions, and spices.
Popularity and Controversy : Football is a game where controversies are galore. It hasn‘t been spared this time around either. The controversial ‘Vuvuzela‘ trumpets are the sore point for many, and have been a dominant feature at the stadium during the ongoing World Cup matches. Three per cent of the Indian posts online are negative for Vuvuzela, however, the positive sentiments are ten times more than the negative ones as 30 per cent Indians are in favour of the instrument.

"Indians are vibrant and fun loving people. They like their drums when they go to watch cricket, so they wouldn‘t mind the Vuvuzela either when they are watching the football World Cup matches. It is all a part of the game for Indians," adds Nagarajan.

The quick games are liked by consumers who are hard pressed for time today. The recent success of IPL is also credited to its fast pace. Cricket, though a major craze in India has innovated itself in the form of shorter formats to maintain its popularity. The test matches and one day matches do have their charm but only for hard core cricket fans. For the general public today even entertainment has to be packaged in a way that it can be accommodated to the changing lifestyles and incorporated into busy schedules.

Media has also played a big role in the popularity of football in the country. The kind of coverage that the game gets has added to its attractiveness.

"It is a chain where popularity generates media interest and media interest gets the attention of the much coveted brands and persuades them to associate themselves with the object of popularity, so is with the adrenaline packed game of football," said Nagarajan.

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