World Cup 2014 Final Germany vs. Argentina on TV – the biggest sports media moment in German history

Professor Thomas Horky

Posted: July 14, 2014

Tagged: events / fans / media / television

Sport is one of the most popular things on TV around world, especially football where broadcasts have reached their highest rankings since many years. But the final match of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil between Germany and Argentina (1-0 after extra time) topped it all: The broadcast of the World Cup Final on Sunday evening – the match started at 9:00 pm German time – was the biggest ever moment for sports media in German history.

Here are some figures to underpin this observation: 34.65 million people on average watched the final match on TV, which means a share of 86.3 percent. This is the highest rating ever measured on German TV. Between the ages of 14 and 49 years, 15.02 million people watched the Final with a share of 90.1%. The sports coverage before and after the Football match gathered high rankings in German TV too. The broadcast of “Super Sports Sunday” entailed the screening of 25 consecutive hours of coverage on public station ARD. This started at 1:15 pm with coverage of motor sports, rowing, canoeing and triathlon, which attracted a viewership of more than 5 million people. Even the “World Cup-Club” – a moderated entertaining discussion with former football players and tennis-hero Boris Becker – which started at 1:39 am the next morning got rankings of 3.97 million viewers and a share of 60%. The length of this programme alone reached the highest rank ever measured, with more than eight hours of broadcasting time especially related to the World Cup Final.

The 2014 World Cup Final broadcast was only the third broadcast in German TV history to reach a landmark of more than 30 million viewers. Football matches dominate the ‘All Time Top Ten of German TV’ charts which shows just matches of the German national team at big tournaments.

This data is gathered by the research agency of German public TV, taking TV viewers watching the match at home, alone, with their family or in small private groups. The ranking system does not count all the people watching the match on big screens at public viewing areas, nor people who watched the program in bars or other public spaces together. The German police has said that in Berlin at the biggest public viewing spot – the German “fan-mile” – all in all there had been more than 500,000 fans. In Hamburg, at the Heiligengeistfeld, there were about 50,000 people in the crowd. And there were several more public viewing areas all over Germany especially in big cities like Munich or Cologne and also at big areas in Bochum, Leipzig or Stuttgart. A sponsor provided the biggest large TV screen (with 412 square meters) for public viewing inside Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt’s stadium.

These screens helped to draw the biggest crowds at public viewing since the semi-finals Germany vs. Italy in 2006 and Germany vs. Spain in 2010 (both times, between 10 up and 15 million people watched the matches at FIFA Fan Fests in Germany). Data for the 2014 Final will follow soon, but the weather on Sunday in Germany was better than on Thursday for the Semi-Final vs. Brazil, which was seen by millions of people at public viewing areas.

In summary there were approximately 45 million out of 81 million German people, who watched the World Cup Final on TV.

In addition, football broadcasts in Germany are increasingly becoming social media moments. The Final garnered record figures for usage all over the world with 618,725 Tweets per minute on Twitter at the final whistle and over 280 million interactions of more than 88 million users on Facebook. The German players used social media at the whole tournament, mostly for small enthusiastic messages to their fans and for sending out pictures of their mobile devices – called “selfie”. One of the most retweeted selfies was sent out by Lukas Podolski together with his old friend Sebastian Schweinsteiger on Sunday evening which was retweeted 88,415 times and marked 77,890 times as a favorite on Twitter. The Arsenal London player Podolski is famous too for sending out another selfie with himself and German chancellor Angela Merkel (24,888 retweets/29,620 favorites).

Keeping in mind this growing movement of second screening on mobile devices and the upcoming World Cups in Russia and Qatar, the record figures for TV broadcasts of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil will stay as the biggest sports media moment in Germany for a long time – maybe forever.

About Professor Thomas Horky

Thomas Horky is a Professor for Sports Journalism at the Macromedia University of applied Sciences in Hamburg. After studying sports science, journalism and linguistics he worked as a trainee journalist for the German press agency dpa and freelance journalist. He was research assistant at the Department of Sports science at the University of Hamburg and the Hamburg Institute of Sports Journalism as well as a lecturer at the Institute of Sports Journalism at the German Sports University in Cologne. The Head of Media School at Macromedia in Hamburg is member of the editorial board of some international journals. His main research projects are quality of journalism, mediasport and staging and sports journalism and entertainment. He wrote several international contributions concerning sports and media, some books and is the editor of the book-series „Sportkommunikation” and „Sport & Kommunikation”.