As well as the strong spectator interest (totalling at almost 445,000 after the preliminary and the relegation round), television viewership reached impressive levels worldwide. The opening game was broadcast in close to 90 countries across the globe.
Five years of planning
The innovative idea of adapting and using a state-of-the-art football stadium for the Opening Game of the 2010 IIHF World Championship was established after the 2001 tournament and mainly driven by Infront Sports & Media, the exclusive marketing partner of the IIHF. It took more than five years to realise the breakthrough concept with the aim to give the sport a major boost in Germany. In order to make this project a showcase for ice hockey, Infront has made maximum use of its long lasting partnership with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the German Ice Hockey Association (DEB) and the Veltins-Arena.
René Fasel, President of the IIHF, said: “I had difficulties realising what the impact of a potential world record spectator crowd would mean for the World Championship opening event. It was really breathtaking, a showcase event, which has brought together everything we have learned about staging the IIHF World Championship. Together with the 2010 Organising Committee and our long-standing marketing partner Infront we have created a landmark for our sport.”
Philippe Blatter, President & CEO of Infront Sports & Media added: “I still can't believe what has been achieved at the Veltins-Arena, on the sportive side as well as on the emotional side. It was a real cauldron. The Infront team has been involved in this terrific opening game all the long way from the first idea five years ago to the final implementation. The organisation was a real roller coaster ride with many ups and downs, exactly like the game itself. This was ice hockey action at its best, as we like to see it and obviously a record 77,803 spectators and millions of television viewers too.”
Bruno Marty, Infront’s Executive Director Winter Sports, commented: “The opening game had everything a sports marketing company and its clients dream of: a world record audience on site, global TV coverage, entertaining sponsor activities, a thrilling game script and finally a historic victory for the home team! As one of the key drivers of the project we are excited about having created - together with our partners - such a unique and innovative platform for ice hockey.”
Strong TV coverage in European ice hockey markets
In Germany, the host market, 1.28 million viewers tuned in to Sport1, with a two million peak audience. The game reached an overall market share of 4.4 percent. Germany’s game against Finland again attracted more than one million viewers and Denmark vs. Germany had a strong market share of 7.1 percent.
In Switzerland, the market share for the opening game was almost 10 percent on SF2. Market shares of Team Switzerland games peaked at over 30 percent. In Sweden, games of Team Sweden reached up 680,000 viewers and an average programme share of almost 20 percent on TV6 (Viasat). In the Czech Republic, the market share of the opening broadcast on Ceska Televize was 12 percent. During the preliminary round, the games of the Czech Team reached an average market share of more than 30 percent.
Sponsor activities caught fan attention
Fan villages around the 2010 IIHF World Championship areas are once again proving a big hit for visiting fans from around the world. The colourful stands provide an efficient activation platform for the Official Sponsors to reach their target groups.
As part of the comprehensive sponsorship programme, Gazprom and the Organising Committee staged the Gazprom Legends Hockey Game just before the opening game in the Veltins-Arena, home of FC Schalke 04. The spectators followed the clash between former Russian superstars against former German elite players. The game which ended with a 5:2 victory over the Germans was probably the most watched exhibition game in ice hockey history.
Player quotes on the Opening Game:
“It felt more like a World Cup football game than a hockey game. When you hear the roar of 80,000 people, it is a different noise.” – Sven Butenschön (Germany)
“I was trying to yell to my line mates but they could not hear me.” - T.J. Oshie (USA)
“It was an amazing way to end the game. We could not have asked for more.” – Nicolai Goc (Germany)
“The place felt as if it was shaking. In football, you say the crowd is the 12th man. The crowd here was definitely the seventh man in the game.” – Ryan Carter (USA)
“It's an unbelievable feeling when you're playing in front of a 76,000 home crowd. Such fantastic support drives you crazy and boosts your performance a lot. We just couldn't play poorly today.” – Michael Wolf (Germany)
Press quotes on the Opening Game:
“What a way to start the 2010 World Championship for the host country, with a loud and boisterous world record crowd of 77,803 looking on at Veltins Arena.” – Alan Adams, IIHF.com
“Somehow the biggest ice hockey victory ever.” – Christian Oeynhausen, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger
“Goose-bumps-atmosphere at record game - 77,803 fans and many celebrities present.” – Arno Schmitz/Uwe Boedeker, Express
“Dream start, spectator world record and euphoria: The German ice hockey team has fulfilled its first mission at the home world cup in a blaze of glory.” – Martin Sauerborn, Kölnische Rundschau
“We are world record!” – Daniel Stolpe, Welt online
For further information, please contact:
Associate Director, Communication & PR
Infront Sports & Media AG
Tel. +41 41 723 15 15
Fax +41 41 723 15 16