World Cup a ratings winner

By Jessica Tyson

Italian fans during the football match against England during the Fifa World Cup. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Italian fans during the football match against England during the Fifa World Cup. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The Fifa World Cup game between England and Italy drew the largest free-to-air television audience of the tournament so far.

According to Nielsen ratings, nearly 300,000 viewers watched the June 15 game live on TV One.

Next was the opening match between Brazil and Croatia, which drew an audience of 215,000 fans.

Sky and TVNZ share the rights to screen the games in New Zealand, with Sky showing every game live.

Ratings from matches aired on Sky Sport 5, which is showing most of the games, were unavailable.

TV One has free-to-air live coverage of 22 games including the quarter-finals, semifinals and the final.

Fifa has the requirement when selling the broadcast rights to the World Cup that some games have to be shown free-to-air, according to TVNZ spokeswoman Sara Cairney.

The Cup has also been popular with those who enjoy a flutter.

Punters bet $546,000 with the TAB on yesterday's game between Netherlands and Mexico, won by the Dutch, 2-1, in injury time. A further $445,000 was wagered on the game between Costa Rica and Greece.

Brazil is the favourite to win the tournament, paying $3.60, while Algeria - before its second-round game - had the longest odds at $225.

- NZ Herald

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