Jose Mourinho’s side duly kicked off against Osasuna at 12.00pm in Spain on 6 November, winning the game 7-1, and Real subsequently reported that match had attracted a TV audience of 60 million in China.
Except it hadn’t. It appears that somebody at national broadcaster CCTV had made an error – or just invented the figure.
The true figure was 1.3m people watching in China, according to reliable audited data just available. That means CCTV – and Real – exaggerated the true total by almost 50 times.
The real figure comes via Kantar Media and has been reported on Sportcal (a subscription site but the headline is viewable on the news page on Monday afternoon).
Kantar collate viewing data in China via a subsidiary, CSM, who are the respected equivalents to BARB in the UK and Nielsen in the USA and many other countries.
The Real-Osasuna game was only shown on seven local channels in China with a potential total audience of just over 5m people. A figure of 1.3m was a decent proportion of the viewing public – but unfortunately 58.7m shy of the claimed 60m.
The midday games in Spain are likely to continue as La Liga tries to catch the world’s best-viewed domestic football competition, England’s Premier League.