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FIFA boss sees key soccer market in cricket-crazy India

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, June 7 (UNI) Football maybe a poor cousin of cricket here but buoyant FIFA President Sepp Blatter said the overwhelming interest for the World Cup underlines India's stature as a key soccer market.

''India are among the biggest viewers of the FIFA World Cup,'' said Mr Blatter barely a couple of days ahead of the soccer extravaganza in Germany, which is expected to reach out to 32.5 billion people world wide.

According to the FIFA chief, India a key market with regards to soccer viewership and following.

''I am very pleasantly surprised with the huge interest in soccer in a cricket crazy nation like India. It is the glory of the soccer world cup, which has transcended, like in other countries, over the language and sports barriers,'' he said.

The FIFA President expected to overshoot the reach of 28.8 billion globally in World Cup.

Soccer viewership has been on the rise in India. The 2002 FIFA World Cup put soccer in a different league garnering ratings as high as 9.1 TVRs which is comparable to top performing soaps and cricket ODIs.

The Euro 2004 continued the growth and had a cumulative audience reach of 32.3 million viewers. This interest in soccer now touches even English Premier League (EPL) which had a reach of 42.8 million for the season till date, which means that nearly one in two of every individual in Cable homes across India has sampled the EPL.


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