The total figure of the final match’s views alone equates to 68%, or more than two-thirds, of the region’s total adult population.
Qatar-based sports media group beIN hit a “record-breaking” viewership of more than 5.4 billion during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the broadcaster announced on Monday.
The media entity said that it recorded the viewers on its flagship channel beIN Sports, while its social media channels garnered 1.1 billion views throughout the tournament.
“It’s incredibly special for us that the first World Cup in the Middle East has broken regional viewership records with more than 5.4 billion cumulative views across the month-long tournament,” Mohammad Al-Subaie, CEO of beIN – MENA, said.
Analysing the overall match viewership across the MENA region, beIN saw a 135% increase in comparison to its broadcast of the previous World Cup, which took place in Russia in 2018.
In comparing final matches, beIN garnered 88 million more audience views for the Qatar World Cup than it did for the Russia World Cup.
“Average TV viewership per match throughout the tournament saw a significant rise in 2022 reaching 80.6 million, compared to that of 36.2 million for 2018’s coverage,” explained the media group in a statement.
Online views reached 1.1 billion during the tournament in Doha in comparison to 121 million in 2018.
“beIN’s social media also posted record numbers with online video views reaching 1.1 billion compared to 121 million in 2018, and an even more impressive 5.5 billion impressions resulting in 400 million interactions (not including SnapChat),” the media outlet said.
During the previous World Cup, beIN reached 235 million impressions that resulted in 40 million interactions.
Breaking down the figures, the media group revealed that it hit 242.8 million views on its “free-to-air channel” during the final match between Argentina and France. The intense game saw Argentina claim the World Cup trophy after its 4-2 win on penalties.
The media group explained that the total figure of the final match equates to 68%, or more than two-thirds, of the region’s total adult population.
A total of 93% of adults in host country Qatar tuned in during the tournament, followed by 91% in Morocco, 89% in Lebanon, 79% in Algeria and 72% in Egypt.
“This is evidence of the appetite for football and similar tournaments across the Arab World and we are honoured to have been the exclusive rights holder. We are excited to be preparing for many more extensive broadcasts as we continue to inspire, educate, and entertain viewers across MENA,” Al-Subaie added.
On YouTube alone, beIN reached 25 million views during the final game, with a peak of 4.44 million during the fierce penalty shootouts.
The atmosphere was particularly intense in the MENA region during the tournament, given that Qatar was the first ever country in the area to host the World Cup. It also witnessed four Arab teams compete for glory—Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Morocco.
Morocco’s Atlas Lions stole the spotlight with their remarkable performance on the pitch, which led to the team being the first ever African and Arab country to reach the semi-finals in the World Cup’s history.
The semi-final between Argentina and Croatia attracted 166.3 million viewers in the MENA region whereas 151.8 million people watched the quarter-finals. Views soared at the time of the quarter-finals in the region when Morocco triumphed over Portugal.
During the highly-anticipated game between Morocco and France, beIN Sports reached 186.1 million viewers, representing 52% of the adult population in MENA and Iran. A total of 99% of Morocco’s adult population tuned in at the time, followed by 78% in Algeria, and 75% in Tunisia.
Outside of North Africa, 82% of Qatar’s adult population watched the heated game, followed by 67% in Lebanon, and 63% in Saudi Arabia.
Despite Morocco’s World Cup defeat, the team has been hailed as the heroes of the region for their sportsmanship and ability to reflect the Arab and Muslim world’s values.
“Offering audiences premium broadcast, analysis, and commentary of each game across its seven channels in four languages, beIN SPORTS’ viewing figures for the month-long tournament underline the unprecedented appetite of football fans in the region for this historic first staging in the Arab World,” the broadcaster said.