How the BIG game’s changing the rules

Media firms worldwide get inventive to kick up their action during the World Cup

In the coming four weeks, audiences around the globe will be tuned via TV, radio, computer, cellphone or carrier pigeon into what is arguably the biggest sporting fiesta — maybe even the biggest entertainment event — on the planet.

And Americans, as ever, will largely ignore it even though it’s one of the few things whose grip on the global imagination upstages even that of Hollywood.

Yes, that quadrennial soccer fest, the Federation Intl. Football Assn. (FIFA) World Cup, began in Germany on June 9 and climaxes 64 games later on July 9.

Everywhere except the U.S., the beautiful game, as it’s known, draws the kind of ratings that make TV execs giddy and leaves cinema managers with empty theaters.

A cumulative aud of 28.8 billion watched the 2002 tournament, held in Japan and South Korea, with some 1 billion — one-sixth of the world’s population — tuning in for the final match in which Brazil beat Germany.

But who will be the winners this year?

The tourney has long pumped TV channels — in Spain, tyro terrestrial channel La Sexta bought the rights as a virtual loss leader in the hope of persuading local auds to retune their sets to receive its signal.

This edition also is priming take-up of emerging platforms, such as Internet TV and mobile viewing devices, as soccer-mad fans do everything they can to catch the games. In the U.K. it’s driving sales of wide-screen TVs, which will have a positive effect for the home cinema and high-def TV biz.

Here’s a rundown on some of the changes in select territories:

Mideast: Fans find ways to avoid high prices

Spain: Tyro web’s gamble

U.K.: Cup can’t save ad biz

Germany: Home team means biz

Eastern and Central Europe: In pole position

Brazil: Ball’s in the ‘Net

More TV

  • Anthony Anderson Accused of Assaulting Woman

    Anthony Anderson Under Criminal Investigation, Disputes Woman's Claims of Assault

    In the coming four weeks, audiences around the globe will be tuned via TV, radio, computer, cellphone or carrier pigeon into what is arguably the biggest sporting fiesta — maybe even the biggest entertainment event — on the planet. And Americans, as ever, will largely ignore it even though it’s one of the few things whose grip […]

  • 'Marvel's Cloak & Dagger' Renewed for

    'Marvel's Cloak & Dagger' Renewed for Season 2 at Freeform

    In the coming four weeks, audiences around the globe will be tuned via TV, radio, computer, cellphone or carrier pigeon into what is arguably the biggest sporting fiesta — maybe even the biggest entertainment event — on the planet. And Americans, as ever, will largely ignore it even though it’s one of the few things whose grip […]

  • Frances McDormand Oscar theft

    Amazon Showrunners Panel: Frances McDormand Will Star as God in 'Good Omens'

    In the coming four weeks, audiences around the globe will be tuned via TV, radio, computer, cellphone or carrier pigeon into what is arguably the biggest sporting fiesta — maybe even the biggest entertainment event — on the planet. And Americans, as ever, will largely ignore it even though it’s one of the few things whose grip […]

  • Amazon Studios SDCC Roundup: Teaser Trailers,

    Amazon Studios SDCC Roundup: Teaser Trailers, Casting, Release Dates

    In the coming four weeks, audiences around the globe will be tuned via TV, radio, computer, cellphone or carrier pigeon into what is arguably the biggest sporting fiesta — maybe even the biggest entertainment event — on the planet. And Americans, as ever, will largely ignore it even though it’s one of the few things whose grip […]

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' TV Reboot in Development From Joss Whedon, Monica Owusu-Breen

    In the coming four weeks, audiences around the globe will be tuned via TV, radio, computer, cellphone or carrier pigeon into what is arguably the biggest sporting fiesta — maybe even the biggest entertainment event — on the planet. And Americans, as ever, will largely ignore it even though it’s one of the few things whose grip […]

  • Iron Fist

    TV News Roundup: Marvel's 'Iron Fist' Gets Season 2 Premiere Date on Netflix

    In the coming four weeks, audiences around the globe will be tuned via TV, radio, computer, cellphone or carrier pigeon into what is arguably the biggest sporting fiesta — maybe even the biggest entertainment event — on the planet. And Americans, as ever, will largely ignore it even though it’s one of the few things whose grip […]

  • Jon Schnepp and Holly Payne g

    'Metalocalypse' Writer-Director Jon Schnepp Dies at at 51

    In the coming four weeks, audiences around the globe will be tuned via TV, radio, computer, cellphone or carrier pigeon into what is arguably the biggest sporting fiesta — maybe even the biggest entertainment event — on the planet. And Americans, as ever, will largely ignore it even though it’s one of the few things whose grip […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content