Monday, August 11, 2003

Internationally renowned soccer team Real Madrid's visit to Hong Kong not only brought up the spirit of the city, but also created a new record in broadcasting history for Hong Kong. Last Friday's match between Real and the Hong Kong team ended with the visitors winning 4-2, but the real scores were in the TV ratings which soared to 50 points, with an average of 43 points meaning that over 3.2 million viewers of Hong Kong's 7 million population were glued to their sets to watch Beckham, Ronaldo and the other stars display their amazing attraction.

With their 'Six Aces', including the immensely popular David Beckham, the Real team arrived in Hong Kong last week for three days, causing a previously unseen frenzy with the football fans. First there were over a thousand fans who braved the temperatures in the 30's to queue for nights in order to buy a ticket to the match, eager to watch this historical event and catch a glimpse of their favourite players. Many of Hong Kong's celebrities were also quite fanatical as artistes and other famous names who are rarely seen at the stadium made an appearance and the most desirable place to be was at the spectacular Gala Reception.

As yesterday's rating announcements showed, the Real vs HK match reached a peak of 50 points (over 3 million viewers) maintaining an average of 43 points. Compared to the same time the previous week, this was a hike of 17 points that completely thrashed the previous record held at 48 points by "Nam Chan Nui Ngoi" (War of the Genders). At the same time, ATV's ratings for "Man Ga Dang Fo" (A Million Lights of Hope) and "Gong Kam Bi Luen" gained a measly 4 points and 1 point respectively. As for Cable, their viewer count reached only 20,000 as 92% of the viewers that evening tuned into the match. Gaining the rights to air this, TVB seem to be the real winners out of Real's success.

In fact, this match's ratings not only exceeded those of recent success such as "Ngong Fu Sing Lung" (Square Pegs), "Siu Bo Yu Hong Hei" (Duke of Mount Deer 2000), "Sap Yuet Cho Ng Dik Yuet Guang" (Return of the Cuckoo), "To Cheung See Jer" (Armed Reaction) and "Nam Chan Nui Ngoi" (War of the Genders), it even beat the average 36 points and peak of 42 points that were pulled by the Brazil vs Turkey and Germany vs S Korea matches of last year's world cup competition.

TVB's external affairs assistant director Tsang Sing Ming expressed that since the change in ratings calculations in 1991, this week's match has gained a new high and TVB are extremely pleased with this result, but he believes that the actual number of people who watched should be higher than the 3.2 million announced officially because there were many bars and restaurants who were broadcasting the match to many more people. Today TVB arranged for a champagne reception to celebrate this success, with appearances from the hosts Hacken Lee, Nat Chan and commentator "Ah Suk", later there will be a bigger celebration when the sports broadcast team return from Athens. Mr Tsang also says that last week's Real vs FC Tokyo match that was aired on Pearl reached second place for the year in the English Channel ratings and to achieve these results in the current climate is a good encouragement for everyone.


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