Even cricket can’t compete

Televised soccer matches draw auds in India

NEW DELHI — Cricket-crazy India has fallen under the spell of World Cup soccer.

According to the TAM TV ratings, 4.4 million people across six urban regions watched the opening match June 9 — more than the viewers for the India-West Indies cricket match on the same day and double the numbers for the opening match of the 2002 World Cup.

And this in a country that’s unlikely ever to field a team.

The impact is significant because most matches are telecast during primetime. The Times of India newspaper says Hindi-language channels’ primetime auds had slumped 11% since games began.

When it comes to advertising, however, the 2006 World Cup has seen a drop in spending of 10% against the same period in the 2002 World Cup, the newspaper reports.

The World Cup has had no discernable effect on cinema attendance, mainly because “Faana” (Destroyed by Love), starring Aamir Khan, is doing better than expected.

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