by Neha Aggarwal
The Men’s Singles final between Olympic and World Champion, Ma Long and World no.2 Fan Zhendong was aired live from 20:31 – 22:00 China Central Time, and was watched by close to 20 million people every minute on average on CCTV-5!
It makes the match the third most watched sports programme in 2017 so far; the two games of the Chinese Football team versus Korea and Iran received higher viewership, 30 million and 24 million respectively.
Additionally, one in 19 of the 356 million Chinese watching TV at that time watched the Men’s Singles final on CCTV-5. In total, over 50 million Chinese watched some part of the finals on Monday 5th June 2017!
The seventh game was played until the score of 12-10, gained the highest views. At 20:57 China Central Time, just before the end of the seventh game, there were 28 million Chinese watching the game on CCTv-5, which was the peak moment of the game.
The most thrilling finals in the history of World Championships on Monday 5th June hiked up the overall number of unique viewers (Chinese who watched the event at least once on CCTV-5 during the past week) significantly from the previous day to more than 30 million new viewers.
The Championships were broadcasted for six days on CCTV and it reached a record number of 202 million total unique views. This number is hoped to grow slightly again with the numerous replays to be aired this week.
Due to the high viewership of the Men’s Singles final, the women’s doubles final, played immediately after Men’s Singles, was also a big hit averaging to 13 million viewers and 30 million reach, despite the fact that the game was aired quite late for the Chinese fans.
Comparing to Suzhou 2015:
The numbers denote a significant rise in the viewership from 2015 in terms of both rating (number of households watching the show at a particular time) and reach (total number of households that watched a show at least once while it was aired). In 2015, the rating was 16.1 million as compared to 19.2 million in 2017 and the reach was 39.9 million as compared to 50.2 million in 2017!
Interestingly, it is important to note that in 2015, the Men’s Singles final was played on a Sunday at prime time in China; whilst the 2017 Men’s Singles finals was aired on a Monday, which is usually considered a low TV viewing day in China and the rest of the world. The weekend viewership is always 10 per cent higher than that on a weekday. The fact that the ratings were so high even on a Monday speaks volumes of the interest generated by the game in China.
The high numbers are a testimony to the high popularity of the game in China, which is only growing day by day.