The 2023 Asian Cup is currently experiencing record interest during the competition in Qatar. Tournament officials recently reported that attendance figures have already set a new record. 1.06 million fans entered stadium in the Middle Eastern nation during the round-robin stage and the round of 16. This was slightly higher than the previous record set in China back in 2004.

The record was aided by 63,753 fans packing Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on January 28th. The round of 16 match featured the host nation going up against Palestine. Qatar eventually won the game 2-1 on the night, as they advanced to the quarterfinals.

“From the very beginning, we knew that the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 would take its place as the most accessible and engaging edition in the tournament’s history,” proclaimed AFC General Secretary Datuk Seri Windsor John.

Soccer fans outside of Asia are watching in record numbers

The tournament, however, is not just breaking records inside the actual arenas. Additional reports are now claiming that the 2023 Asian Cup is also setting broadcasting records as well. A massive reason for this boost in viewership comes down to total reach.

This is the first iteration of the Asian Cup to be fully available in countries outside of Asia/Australia. This includes being broadcasted across Europe, the United States, South America, and Africa. In fact, the competition is now currently available to watch in more than 160 global territories. This is possible with the help of 60 media companies using over 120 of their television channels.

Not only are these competitive matches now available in new markets, but they are also free in many areas. Here in the States, however, Asian Cup games can be streamed via Paramount+. The streaming service currently has plans starting at $6 per month.

Iran have been one of the surprise packages in the 2023 Asian Cup, eliminating Japan at the quarter-final stage
Iran have been one of the surprise packages in the 2023 Asian Cup, eliminating Japan at the quarter-final stage

Iran have been one of the surprise packages in the 2023 Asian Cup, eliminating Japan at the quarter-final stage

“The preliminary eye-catching TV viewership figures reinforce the growing demand for AFC football and reiterates the world-class platform of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 for our players, teams and passionate fans alike,” stated John.

“In addition to a truly global audience outreach so far, we look forward towards working hand in hand with our valued media and broadcast partners as we strive to scale the volume of TV coverage and engage with the hundreds of millions of Asian football fans like never before.”

Viewership also on the rise inside Asian nations

Nevertheless, the increase in viewership is not solely down to foreign interest. Inside World Football has reported that several Asian nations have increased their broadcasting reach of the tournament as well. Vietnam currently has a total television reach of over 200 million people. As a result, the country saw an 84% increase in viewership in the recent group stage.

South Korea, with help from tvN Sports, had 51% more viewers compared to the 2019 Asian Cup group stage. More than 65 million soccer fans inside the country looked on as their team advanced through to the knockout round.

Indonesia also saw an dramatic increase in viewership during the group stage as well. In fact, the nation picked up around 154 million total viewers as the team progressed beyond the group stage. It was the first time that the country ever made it through to the knockouts.

The tournament is currently in the semifinal stage of the competition. The eventual final two teams will face off for the title on Saturday, February 10th.

Photo credits: IMAGO / NurPhoto : IMAGO / AFLOSPORT