The Emirates FA Cup in Numbers
The 138th edition of The Emirates FA Cup was another tournament to remember. The extra preliminary rounds began on the 10th of August and FA Cup purists were subsequently treated to nine months of action from all over the country. The tournament culminated at Wembley, with Manchester City beating Watford to complete a historic, first, domestic treble.
At IMG ARENA we streamed 85 of the 150 matches played, to our providers and their customers in over 200 countries. More than 220 million minutes of FA Cup action was digested by this global fan base (up from 125 million in 2018) and it is apparent that the appetite for England’s oldest competition does not seem to be waning. Manchester City’s quarter-final thriller against Swansea City claimed the top spot in the viewing stakes. The Swan’s holding a two-goal lead after half an hour saw viewing numbers increase at an unprecedented rate.. With nearly 1.5 million views and 375,000 unique viewers, the game pipped Chelsea and Manchester United’s fifth round match to the viewer’s crown.
The third round was an FA Cup weekend to remember with plenty of the usual third-round giant killings for upset hungry punters to feed on. To name just a few: League Two Oldham dumped Premier League Fulham out at Craven Cottage, National League Barnet beat newly Premier League promoted Sheffield United and League Two Newport also beat Leicester. Over the 32 games in the third round, we saw over 8.2 million views and 1.3 million unique fans tune into our streams over the and these numbers are no doubt reflective of the introduction of some of the world’s biggest stars such as Aguero, Salah and Kane who all played in the third round.
Live streaming is an invaluable acquisition and retention tool for sportsbook operators. The games that saw the highest average viewing duration were not games that one would naturally expect to see people tune into for the longest. Maidstone United, Metropolitan Police, Chesterfield and many others in the competition do not often get the luxury of being televised and this was again the case during their matches in Rounds 1 and 2. For this reason, we saw our streams achieving record-breaking duration times for these games as loyal fans watched their local heroes play in the FA Cup.
What is also interesting is the figures highlighting which devices people watched these games on. 48 out of the top 50 viewed games saw people watch the games on their mobile devices as opposed to desktop. This reinforces reports that a third of all sport is now watched on mobile. The power of portable in this day and age is undeniable, fans expect rather than demand to be able to watch the action wherever they are. Always on and always in my pocket is a phrase that will resonate with the modern sports fan.
The power of the FA Cup is clear to see. World-class players, the knockout format and upsets galore, gives fans across the world months of thrilling action from England’s oldest football competition. With non-league team Barnet in the fourth round, Woking in the third round, Slough Town in the second and the Metropolitan Police in the first, it is not hard to see why the FA Cup still captures the imagination and hearts of a global audience.
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