Earlier this week IBSA released the ratings for the live television broadcast & online live stream from the World Goalball Championships held in Espoo, Finland last month. Numbers across the board were much stronger than pre-tournament expectations, indicating a continued growth in interest in the sport.
Live streaming at a major Goalball competition is nothing new, but this was the first time an organizing committee ever went so far as to sign a television broadcast contract for an IBSA World Championships. Finland’s national broadcast was also responsible for providing the most high quality live stream to date for a Goalball tournament.
Every match from the primary arena was broadcast live via the internet, while the championship finals were broadcast live on national television.
Impressively, that live TV broadcast on the final day of competition saw an average of 35,000 viewers through the finals with a peak of 38,000 viewers.
Equally as noteworthy were the number of world wide viewers tuned in via the online stream. Throughout the week there was an average of just over 4,300 unique visitors to the stream page per day. The peak was on the final day of the round robin. With playoff births on the line, just shy of 4,700 unique visitors tuned in.
The official website of the event as well as the social media pages for the event and for IBSA Goalball also saw large growth throughout the event indicating a growing interest in the event, even as it progressed.
IBSA attributes much of the growth to the exposure the sport received during the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the growth of social media within the Parasport community.
With events such as European Championships, ParaPan Am Games and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games all on the horizon, it will be fascinating to see if the terrific job done by the Espoo organizers was a blip on the radar or the start of a new standard for coverage of major Goalball competitions.