Football is the world's most watched sport

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The Independent Online

Football is the most watched sport in the world, comprising close to a quarter (24%) of the average sports viewer's consumption for the 2008-2009 season. The Yearly Sport Key Facts report revealed this and other trends on Monday 12th October, as Eurodata TV marks the 20 year anniversary of Sportel, an international convention for sports content providers which runs from Monday until Thursday 15th.

Each country surveyed had its own specific differences. The country most interested in football proved to be Portugal where it reached 72% of average viewing time.

In France, cycling is always popular. Out of all of the year's sports events, it represented 17% of total viewing time as opposed to a usual average of 11% - this year's Tour de France finished in Paris and proved to be a bit hit. Similarly, the World Athletics Championships in Berlin caught the attention of German viewers, who devoted 6% of their total year's viewing to the 9 day event. In India, cricket remains the people's sport, present in over 95% of sporting programmes broadcast on television.

With vancouver's Winter Olympics fast approaching, the study reveals that winter sports occupy two thirds of the average Canadian's viewing. In Europe, the figure is 29% thanks to various ski or biathalon championships broadcast on regular TV channels in Austria, Finland, Germany, Norway, Poland and Russia.

The Yearly Sport Key Facts report was carried out in 31 countries between September 2008 and August 2009.