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Local World Cup viewers tune out after opener

24 June 2014, 20:04

Lagos - They may be gaining momentum after a disappointing draw in their first World Cup match but viewing figures released on Tuesday showed Nigeria's stuttering start appears to have turned off millions of fans back home.

Some 17.5 million Nigerian adults -- about a fifth of the adult population -- watched their team's opener on Monday last week, a scoreless draw with Iran which attracted much criticism for their negative approach.

By Saturday, tactics had improved, earning the Super Eagles a creditable 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the audience had dropped by 39 percent, with just 10.6 million tuning in.

The figures were revealed by GeoPoll, a company that uses text messages to survey developing nations, as part of the first ever survey of World Cup viewing habits among Africans.

The pollster has been analysing viewing trends representing 300 million people in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

Its research showed increased interest in Ghana, where an impressive 2-2 draw with much-fancied Germany attracted 3.7 million adult viewers -- a big rise on the 2.4 million who watched their 2-1 defeat to the United States five days earlier.

Other countries in Africa were also gripped by the fixture, said GeoPoll, with 24.5 million adults watching the Black Stars' exploits against the Germans across the five countries surveyed.

GeoPoll uses text messages as well as voice- and web-based communications to reach a minimum of 2,000 people daily in each country.

"Overall, GeoPoll's viewership numbers for the first round of games has confirmed the popularity of soccer across Africa," it said in a statement.

"In the five countries surveyed, viewership for the World Cup has been high, no matter what teams are playing."

Part of the drop in interest inside Nigeria can be put down to a later kick-off time for their second game, the company said.

"The earliest games have had particularly high viewership even when African teams were not playing," it added.

"Since the start of the World Cup, at least 17.5 million adults across Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria have watched part of the first game played each day."

African nations have had mixed results in Brazil, with Cameroon among the first teams knocked out and Ghana hanging by a thread after picking up just one point with a game still to play.

Ivory Coast, Algeria and Nigeria are still very much in the hunt, however, with the tournament entering its round of 16 on Saturday.




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