By any
measurement the World Cup Soccer final qualifying game in Sydney between
Australia and Uruguay did well on SBS TV with an average of around 2.5 million
people watching (from 8pm to
10.53pm) according to figures from SBS.

But as
well as it did, a bit of perspective is needed. The
game did nowhere as well as previous big sporting events in recent years such as
the Rugby World Cup final in 2003 involving Australia and England, or any
of the major Olympic events or the AFL finals.

It was
about equal to this year’s NRL Grand Final in Sydney watched by around 2.5 million
people. Big
Brother
finales and two grand finals of Australian Idol have also attracted
bigger audiences.

It was
equal to the 2005, Melbourne Cup (2.5 million for the race), beat the final of
Dancing With the Stars
last week (2.22 million) and the highest rating episode
of Desperate Housewives in 2005 (more than 2.3 million), according to
SBS.

This
year’s AFL Grand Final was watched by a bigger audience nationally of 3.4
million people in the five metro markets.

But
despite these qualifications, last night’s game was big and passionate, and
heart stopping!

According to the Oztam the
game was watched by an average of 2.5 million viewers from 7 pm to around 11 pm,
with a peak at 10.45 pm of 3.4 million people watching.

SBS
said in a statement that a total of 4.5 million people had watched the game, at
some stage during the coverage. SBS had a share of 36.4%, Nine was second with 20.7%.

That
gave SBS a massive 63% of the national audience: in Sydney a massive 71.3%. In
Melbourne the
Soccer was watched by 67.2% at the climax of the match at 10.30 pm to around
10.48 pm.

So how
does it compare to earlier World Cup games in Australia?
Well,
it beat the 1997 game between Australia and Iran
which was watched by an average 1.4 million metro viewers in the five major
capital city markets.

In regional markets, the
game was watched by 934,000 viewers with a peak of 1.3
million. In
2001, the game against Uruguay screened by the Seven Network
was watched by a five city average of 2.221 million.

In
terms of other big sporting events, it wouldn’t feature in the top 10 in 2000
(because of Olympics), 2001, 2002, 2003 (the Rugby World Cup involving Australia
was watched by more than four million), or 2004. Last night’s game would
probably slot in around 15th, 16th or 17th.