The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on 14 June 2018 with pomp and glamour. British performing and recording artist Robbie Williams together with Russian singer, Aida Garifullina gave a resounding performance in sync with a colorful team of entertainers.  The opening ceremony was held in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, which also played host to the opening game of the tournament.

The Opening Ceremony

The 1hr opening ceremony was televised live by FIFA partner broadcasters across the globe, with viewers across Africa tuning in. GeoPoll examined audience share for select stations airing the opening ceremony and first match in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. Interest in the opening ceremony was high in Kenya and Tanzania, likely due to the fact that it was aired starting at 1600 in these countries, while it was earlier in the day in West Africa. In Kenya, Kwese Free Sports had a 14% share of all TV viewers during the opening ceremony, while in Tanzania TBC had the most audience, at 22% of TV viewers.

Russia Vs Saudi Arabia

The first game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup was played between Group A’s Russia, the host nation, and Saudi Arabia at 1500hrs GMT. In Kenya, peak viewership came at 1930, in the middle of the game, when over 38% of TV viewers were tuned into the matches on various channels. In Tanzania at the same time, over 32% of TV viewers were watching. Ghana also saw an increase of viewers from the opening ceremony to the first match, with a share of over 27% of viewers. Viewership in Nigeria was also at over 27% of total TV viewers.

In all countries, we can observe an increase in viewership during the game when compared to the opening ceremony. This signals more interest in the first game of 2018 FIFA World Cup and not the official opening ceremony.

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A number of free to air channels and pay TV channels across the world are broadcast partners for 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Highest Viewership by Channel

NTV Kenya had the highest viewership in Kenya, capturing over 30% of TV audience in Kenya during the time of the match. This is an increase of over 400% of NTV’s typical audience during the same time period. Kwese Free Sports had a 13% audience share prior to the start of the match in Kenya, which dropped during the airing of the game. In Nigeria, NTA Nigeria and SuperSport also saw an increased audience size during the game, with SuperSport at 14% of all viewers and NTA at 13%. Tanzania saw TBC dominating audience share of the channels showing the games.

Second-day action sees the other Group A match between Africa’s Egypt and South America’s Uruguay kick off at 1200hrs GMT. Group B matches of yet another African representative Morocco and Iran follows at 1500h GMT and the day’s highlight game being former champions Spain facing off with European champions, Portugal at 1800h GMT.

GeoPoll will catch all the action and provide you with audience estimates on the 2018 FIFA World Cup, derived from the syndicated audience measurement product that is collected daily.

Our Exclusive World Cup Subscription Offer

We have a special world cup subscription offer for 6 countries (Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda) Sign up and get access to our online TV viewership data portal for the two months (June and July) during which the matches will be played. The portal gives you real-time access to the media consumption data collected daily.

As part of the package, you will receive a weekly World Cup audience measurement insights report with a breakdown on:

  • The number of people watching World Cup games
  • Viewership numbers broken down by age and gender
  • Comparison of game watching across countries
  • Game viewership by tournament round
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Note: This blog article focuses on certain channels and countries airing the World Cup. In Nigeria, data is based on information from select states.