Cumulative World Cup viewers in India to top 804m

ESPN Star Sports is introducing special initiatives to spread World Cup 'fever' in India including a special Hindi-language feed for traditional markets. "We reckon that this edition of the FIFA World Cup will break viewership records in India," R C Venkateish, managing director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, told Televisionpoint. "The convenient timings of the matches, with some matches starting as early as 6:30 in the evening, will add to the number of eye-balls for the World Cup. A total 75 million Indians sampled the telecast of World Cup 2002, with a cumulative audience reach of 804 million in India.

"The ratings of the FIFA World Cup have been higher than the ratings of an India cricket test match. Soccer is getting much bigger in India than it was in 2002, with over 55 million people watching the European League this season," he said.

The broadcaster will be undertaking a nation-wide search for eight school children to be chosen as FIFA fair play flag bearers at the World Cup. The contest will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the school children to travel to Germany and stand with their favourite stars during the pre-match ceremony.