AFCON’s visibility skyrockets with 2 billion views

Nearly 2 billion people watched the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 over the past month, according to Patrick Motsepe, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), at a press conference in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire before the end of tournament.

Analysts say the AFCON’s global viewership, online engagement and commercial revenue are all expected to grow significantly compared to previous editions thanks to expanded broadcast rights and media coverage, an uptick in commercial partnerships, and the impact of social media.

Matches were aired in around 180 countries spread of deals with partner broadcasters including Sky, Canal+, beIN Sport, BBC and MultiChoice, as well as 45 Free To Air broadcasters. Some 6,000 journalists applied for media accreditation, double the last AFCON in Cameroon in 2022.

Motsepe estimated that nearly 2 billion people watched AFCON on TV. The previous record was at the last AFCON, where CAF reported 65 million viewers.

According to the CAF boss it is an achievement that Africans should be proud of. “We have had close to two billion people watching AFCON globally. We should be proud as Africans and the next one will be even better,” Motsepe said at the press conference via CAF X handle.

“The success of Africa depends upon Africa working together, trading together, and in football, countries competing and playing together.”

Patrice Motsepe, CAF, AFCON 2023, Ivory Coast
CAF president Patrice Motsepe in a press conference confirmed nearly two billion people have watched the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast / © Sebastian Frej / Getty Images

London-based market research firm GlobalData estimates that CAF will earn around $75 million in sponsorship revenue from this year’s AFCON. This year’s AFCON had 17 commercial partners including title sponsor TotalEnergies, 1xBet, Orange and Unilever.

From a small competition that featured only three teams in the inaugural edition, AFCON has become the biggest football event in Africa and now has 24 countries in the main draw and 52 in the qualifiers.

The Africa Cup of Nations has been held 34 times and 15 different countries have lifted the championship till now. In the early days, AFCON was held in random intervals but became a biennial competition from 1968.

James Torvaney, managing director of Africa-focused sports media group Pulse Sports, told Semafor Africa that there were “far more deals and far more coverage (of AFCON) than there ever has been before.”

Social media, particularly TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, also helped drive visibility for teams, brands and federations alike, according to new data by sports market intelligence platform #AfricaScores.

UK-based sports data company Opta crowned it “the most exciting AFCON ever”, noting that the goals-per-game rate of 2.47 in the group stages was the highest in 15 years.

The participation of some of the biggest names in global football, such as Victor Osimhen, Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Andre Onana, also helped drive global interest in the continental showpiece.

Source: Semafor

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