In early July concluded the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Espoo, Finland. These championships were organized to an incredibly high standard and the level of play was too match. To the delight of IBSA Goalball, we can also announce that the number of spectators and followers of the championships also went far beyond any pre-tournament predictions.
Goalball continues to grow in its popularity as well as the participation rate. The sport that was once unknown too many despite its status as a Paralympic sport is becoming more familiar to many.
This increase of knowledge around the sport of goalball can be attributed to a variety of things including the growth of the Paralympic movement and the consequential success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games as well as increased media coverage and the rise of social media.
In today’s day in age it is expected that a major goalball tournament will be streamed live on the internet. This was most certainly the case from Espoo but the organisers also went a step further. For the first time the organisers of the IBSA Goalball World Championships signed a television deal. This deal included all the matches from the main sport arena being streamed live as well as the live broadcast on Finnish television of the finals.
It was the rankings of the television broadcast and live streaming that showed exactly just how popular goalball has become. The live broadcast was viewed by 35 000 people on average throughout the finals with a maximum of 38 000 tuning in at one point.
The number of unique viewers watching the live streaming throughout the first five days of the tournament was also equally impressive. Over these five days the number of unique viewers per day averaged 4326. The most popular day was the final day of round robin play which amounted a total of 4695 unique viewers.
This isn’t the end though of the grand totals. The official website also received a mega amount of unique visitors. Throughout the six days of play, the average number of unique visitors was 3953. The most popular day was not surprisingly finals day. The website was viewed this day by 4892 internet users.
The social media statistics were also nothing to be ashamed of. The amount of Twitter followers and Facebook likes on the tournaments official Twitter and Facebook accounts increased by approximately 200% each during the course of the championships. Finally the IBSA Goalball Facebook page also benefited. The number of likes on the official IBSA Goalball page also increased by approximately 8% during the week of the tournament and the surrounding weeks.
We at IBSA Goalball would like to thank the organizing committee of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships for putting on such a great display that led to so many people engaged in the sport of goalball during the world championships. Furthermore to all participants, congratulations to you all for such a high quality performance that led to so many individuals tuning in and following the championships.
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