New World Cup highs for CBC

The final game between Spain and the Netherlands attracts a record 5.8 million viewers to the pubcaster.

Soccer may be getting more popular with television viewers in Canada as the final of the FIFA World Cup on Sunday attracted a whopping 5.8 million viewers to CBC for the match between Spain and the Netherlands at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium.

It’s a new television record for a World Cup final in Canada, according to the pubcaster, which drew 5.1 million viewers while an additional 685,000 tuned in to Radio-Canada, as Spain captured the trophy with a 1-0 victory. (All numbers 2+.)

The numbers are 105% higher than the 2006 final between Italy and France, which aired on CTV, and speaks to the impact of BBM’s Personal People Meters, which have boosted audiences for live sporting events to new highs. It was also the first time that a World Cup was held in Africa.

Audiences peaked at 7.6 million at 4:56 p.m., while CBC had an additional 231,649 live streams of the match online.

An estimated 700 million viewers worldwide tuned in to the match, according to ABC News. If the numbers are correct, the match would surpass the roughly 600 million that watched the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.

Meanwhile, the third-place match between Uruguay and Germany averaged 1.8 million viewers on Saturday as the Germans clinched the spot. CBC says more than 28 million Canadians watched World Cup programming between June 11 and July 11.

CBC also has broadcast rights to the 2014 World Cup, which takes place in Brazil for the first time.