SATURDAY night’s blockbuster AFC Asian Cup Final will be played in front of an 80,000-plus crowd at Sydney’s Stadium Australia – but it will have a TV audience of 800 million, with more than one million Australians tuning in.
The Australia v Korea Republic final will be screened on 80 channels covering the entire globe, including Fox Sports and the ABC here in Australia, as well as Fox International Channels, CCTV in China, Sony SIX in India, and Eurosport.
There will be more than 300 accredited media representatives covering the event live at Stadium Australia, including 100 photographers.
The AFC Asian Cup has attracted 45,000 international visitors and, after Saturday, will have had more than 650,000 fans through the gates to watch 32 games in 23 days in five host cities between Asia’s best-performed 16 nations.
Sydney’s Stadium Australia – or Stadium Australia under its generic name being used for this tournament – has hosted seven games, including a semi-final and Saturday night’s Final to be played before a full house.
The economic benefits to Sydney and NSW have been significant and – like the Sydney Olympics – this event will have long-term benefits with images of beautiful Sydney being screened around the world. NSW business leaders have been actively seeking opportunities, with seven of NSW’s top five trading partners and three of the top five – China, Japan and South Korea – having competed in this Asian Cup.
But the event has also been used to strengthen cultural and social ties with our Asian neighbours through football.
Multi-cultural Sydney has embraced the event, with Saturday night’s full house to take Stadium Australia’s combined Asian Cup crowd to almost 230,000. A tournament high of 50,276 turned out to watch the Socceroos’ Group match against Oman in Sydney, while almost 23,000 witnessed a game featuring Iran and Qatar.
There are more than 2.5 million people of Asian heritage living in Australia.
Football is expected to be the big winner. In 2006, more than 80 million people in Asia played football. By 2020, this number is expected to reach more than 380 million.