An Asia Cup Update

Today was the semi-finals of the 2011 Asia Cup in Qatar.  Japan beat South Korea in a thriller which was decided by penalties, and Australia destroyed Uzbekistan 6-0 in the other match.

Attendance did get a little bit better, with the matches seeing 16,000 and 25,000 today for official attendance numbers (though watching the Japan match, the stadium seemed to have much fewer fans at the game than the 16,000 seems to indicate).  The question I thought up was, how this year’s Asia Cup stacked up against previous Asia Cup’s.

2011 Qatar, Average Attendance 12,000 (Population 1.7 million)

2007 Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Average Attendance 22,632 (Combined population of around 410 million)

2004 China, Average Attendance 31,877 (Population 1.3 billion)

2000 Lebanon, Average Attendance 10,900 (Population 4.2 million)

1996 UAE, Average Attendance 17,231 (Population 5 million)

1992 Japan, Average Attendance 19,781 (Population 127 million)

Considering these numbers, it is somewhat worrisome that Qatar will be getting the World Cup, they have posted one of the best funded but worst attended tournaments in the history of this competition.  Probably what will be more important is how well the television ratings are for the tournament, as well as ad revenue (which I suspect did pretty well with the money being poured into the tournament).  Worst of all, because the stadiums are still not built, and because of the low number of fans coming to the country to go to matches, as well as domestic fans attending matches, we really did not see if Qatar is still capable of hosting a tournament on the level of the World Cup.

In reading over the critiques of the bids from the rest of the competitors for the 2022 World Cup from Asia, Qatar’s key factor seems that they do not present the risk of reducing television revenue.  I’ll try to present another update if I can get some of the television ratings, I know the matches did very well in Japan, where the tournament was played near or after midnight.  FIFA knows people will watch World Cup, and it seems to be more and more the case, they are more focused on revenue from television and advertisement, than actually having fans come to the games.

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