I’m a Leeds United fan, albeit not a particularly dedicated one, so I was pleased to hear the announcement that Leeds’ first round FA cup match (against Oldham Athletic) would be broadcast live on the internet by the FA, with no charge whatsoever. For me, the biggest obstacle to watching Leeds matches has always been the cost. The only time I’ve ever watched a game at Elland Road was when a friend won a pair of free tickets. Much as I’d love to go regularly, it’s never been financially realistic. The match took place, and sadly I was working through most of it, but I did watch the end of the game. Viewing figures have just been released, and the video of the game was played a massive 176,000 times!
To put this in perspective, Elland Road seats just over 40,000 people (incidentally this makes it the 240th largest football stadium in the world by seated capacity). The new Wembley stadium seats 90,000. The largest football stadium in the world is the Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, which seats 150,000. Obviously there were not 176,000 separate people watching Leeds vs. Oldham, but it’s an impressive viewing figure nonetheless (and makes it one of the 5 largest free-to-view online sporting broadcasts in the UK so far)!
The next match to be freely streamed is the 2nd round match between Norwich City and either Carlisle United or Morecambe on Saturday 28 November. I’ll be interested to see how many people watch that one.