14 November 2011
It was supposed to be a landmark game, moved controversially to a midday kick-off in Spain to help Real Madrid reach a massive 7pm prime-time Saturday night audience in China.
Jose Mourinho’s side duly kicked off against Osasuna at 12.00pm in Spain on 6 November, winning the game 7-1, and Real subsequently reported that match had attracted a TV audience of 60 million in China.
Except it hadn’t. It appears that somebody at national broadcaster CCTV had made an error – or just invented the figure.
The true figure was 1.3m people watching in China, according to reliable audited data just available. That means CCTV – and Real – exaggerated the true total by almost 50 times.
The Real-Osasuna game was only shown on seven local channels in China with a potential total audience of just over 5m people. A figure of 1.3m was a decent proportion of the viewing public – but unfortunately 58.7m shy of the claimed 60m.
The midday games in Spain are likely to continue as La Liga tries to catch the world’s best-viewed domestic football competition, England’s Premier League.