Soccer still fields top sports auds in Europe

Constitutes 88% of all sports watched in Portugal

HOLLYWOOD — Americans may not be big on it, but soccer is still the most-watched sport in Europe, according to a new report.

TV Sport Insight, compiled by Gaul-based Eurodata TV Worldwide, probed viewing habits in 10 countries including the U.K., France and Germany from September through December.

Viewers in most countries spent less time watching sports on TV during that frame compared with the May- August period, which included the Euro 2004 soccer tourney in Portugal and the Olympic Games in Greece.

In Italy, the time dedicated to watching sporting events on TV decreased from an average of 31 hours during May-August to seven hours September-December. The same was true in Germany and France, with viewing time respectively dropping from 24 hours to 5 hours 52 minutes and from 30 hours to 5 hours 18 minutes.

But viewers devoted most of their time to soccer.

Soccer matches represented 88% of the total TV sports consumption in Portugal, more than 65% for a French TV viewer and more than 53% in Italy.

Report also emphasizes that the different soccer competitions do not achieve the same success in terms of TV audience.

In France, eight of the 10 best sports auds of the year were notched up by Euro 2004 soccer games. The No. 1 slot went to the Champions League and No. 10 to the Uefa Cup.

Other countries attach more importance to national soccer competitions: In Spain, the final of the Copa del Rey soccer tourney between Real Madrid and Real Zaragoza scored more than 9 million viewers, making it the second-most-watched TV sports event.

In Portugal, where the national championship is broadcast on pubcaster RTP1, the duel between Benfica and FC Porto achieved market share of more than 60% and reached more than 2.6 million viewers.

Created by Mediametrie, Eurodata TV Worldwide distributes programming and audience information.

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