01 Feb 2019

The fourth biggest TV spectator sport for the world’s largest population: Table Tennis’ appeal in China has never been higher.

41.9% of China’s population watched Table Tennis on TV in 2018, providing the latest proof of the sport’s incredible capacity to excite and entertain vast sections of the world’s most populous country.

539 million unique viewers tuned in to watch Table Tennis over the course of the year with almost 450 million people watching any events organised by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).

A grand total of 2.55 billion reach and a cumulated audience of over 768.45 million Table Tennis viewers on CCTV-5, the dedicated Sports channel of China Central Television, sees the sport’s massive appeal and popularity breaking new ground across the nation.

Compared to 2017, numbers shot up from 1.92 billion reach and a cumulated audience of 603.72 million people, while total air time rose from 294 to 321 hours in 2018.

Table Tennis: Sport of Choice for Chinese Viewers

Table Tennis was the fourth most-watched sport in China over the course of the calendar year, behind only football, basketball and volleyball, while it’s important to note that the above sports had significantly more air time to draw in viewers: a combined total of 2,846 hours of coverage compared to Table Tennis’ 321 hours.

Table Tennis is, by some distance, the main racket sport to watch for people in China. In comparison to Table Tennis’ total reach of 2.55 billion, Badminton and Tennis posted figures of 1.72 billion and 736.84 million respectively, while their cumulated audiences stood at 517.1 million and 97.2 million respectively – behind Table Tennis’ 768.45 million.

World Team Championships: Big Event, Even Bigger Numbers

The Men’s and Women’s Finals at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden, both featured among the Top 10 CCTV Ratings for sports broadcasts in 2018 (excluding the FIFA World Cup and Asian Games).

Ranked in 4thplace, the Men’s Team Final achieved a total reach of 45.5 million, with an average of 18.28 million viewers tuned in at any given moment during the 1 hour, 51 minutes of air time, as China defeated Germany to claim gold on Sunday 6 June.

Meanwhile, the Women’s Team Final the previous day occupies 7thplace in the ratings with an average of 17.29 million people watching at any given moment as China overcame Japan to take the top prize. Lasting 2 hours, 33 minutes, the match drew a total reach of over 47.34 million.

Zhibo TV: Online Streaming Success

It’s not only on CCTV where Table Tennis is attracting Chinese viewers in their masses:

An extraordinary 142.3 million unique viewers tuned into Chinese online streaming platform Zhibo TV to watch the 2,593 matches (both in qualification and main competition) broadcast over the course of the calendar year, resulting in a total of almost 405 million page views.

TV Figures: Big Boost for Brands

“Table Tennis’ strong and constantly increasing TV figures represent a big reason behind brands choosing to associate themselves with the sport.

“We are excited to be providing more engaging content for our Chinese followers as we grow our fan base even further leading up to the World Table Tennis Championships between 21-28 April in Budapest, Hungary. 

“CCTV has always been a loyal partner and we look forward to continuing our positive relationship, while the ITTF would also like to thank China’s superstars for entertaining fans in their masses with their exceptional talent and performances.”

Matthew Pound, ITTF Marketing Director

Stay Tuned!

2019 will be the biggest year ever for international Table Tennis. Follow the links below and you won’t miss any of the action!

Press Releases Marketing CCTV Zhibo TV