Viewership is expected to boost due to kick-off timings more suited to India, and live streaming on mobile being offered by broadcasters



A popular internet meme implies that being an Asian football fan means going sleepless at night to catch live the biggest matches international football has to offer. Past World Cups and club-level matches in Europe posed that big question to the people of this part of the globe: to watch or not to watch?

But no such dilemma in the Fifa World Cup 2018, which will give a football-crazy Indian fans a chance to catch the action during evening hours.

FIFA World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The last edition of the tournament, in 2014 in Brazil, reached 3.2 billion people around the world. According to a report by FIFA, the Asian market observed a decline in audience reach due to the less favourable kick-off times which caused the global figure not to rise compared to 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.




However, the 2014 edition enjoyed an increase in coverage across India. Audience reach for the whole event increased from 44.9 million in 2010 to 85.7 million in 2014. Russia, the first Eastern European country to host the competition, will offer kick-off timings more suited to the Asian audience and the football fans in India. With a series of high-profile international matches ready to see the light of the day in India (finally!) for the next one month, expect a surge in the viewership figure.

The earliest kick-off time for a game in the forthcoming tournament is 3:30 PM (IST) on June 16 when France will play Australia. The latest timing for kick-off in most matches is 11:30 PM (IST), with one exception — Croatia vs Nigeria which will begin at 12:30 am on June 17. Broadcasting rights holder Sony Pictures Networks officials have said they are expecting viewership for this year’s edition to cross 100 million viewers. Sony’s video-on-demand service SonyLiv will live stream all the World Cup games.

The opening match will be between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14, which will start at 8:30 PM (IST). Throughout the group stage, three to four matches will be played everyday. The final will be played on July 15 in Moscow at 8:30 PM (IST).

Following is the FIFA World Cup 2018 schedule:



THURSDAY, JUNE 14
Russia vs. Saudi Arabia8:30 PM (IST)Moscow
FRIDAY, JUNE 15
Egypt vs. Uruguay5:30 PM (IST)Yekaterinburg
Morocco vs. Iran8:30 PM (IST)Saint Petersburg
Portugal vs. Spain11:30 PM (IST)Sochi
SATURDAY, JUNE 16
France vs. Australia3:30 PM (IST)Kazan
Argentina vs. Iceland6:30 PM (IST)Moscow
Peru vs. Denmark9:30 PM (IST)Saransk
SUNDAY, JUNE 17
Croatia vs. Nigeria12:30 AM (IST)Kaliningrad
Costa Rica vs. Serbia5:30 PM (IST)Samara
Germany vs. Mexico8:30 PM (IST)Moscow
Brazil vs. Switzerland11:30 PM (IST)Rostov
MONDAY, JUNE 18
Sweden vs. South Korea5:30 PM (IST)Nizhny Novgorod
Belgium vs. Panama8:30 PM (IST)Sochi
Tunisia vs. England11:30 PM (IST)Volgograd
TUESDAY, JUNE 19
Poland vs. Senegal5:30 PM (IST)Moscow
Colombia vs. Japan8:30 PM (IST)Saransk
Russia vs. Egypt11:30 PM (IST)Saint Petersburg
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20
Portugal vs. Morocco5:30 PM (IST)Moscow
Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia8:30 PM (IST)Rostov
Iran vs. Spain11:30 PM (IST)Kazan
THURSDAY, JUNE 21
France vs. Peru5:30 PM (IST)Yekaterinburg
Denmark vs. Australia8:30 PM (IST)Samara
Argentina vs. Croatia11:30 PM (IST)Nizhny Novgorod
FRIDAY, JUNE 22
Brazil vs. Costa Rica5:30 PM (IST)Saint Petersburg
Nigeria vs. Iceland8:30 PM (IST)Volgograd
Serbia vs. Switzerland11:30 PM (IST)Kaliningrad
SATURDAY, JUNE 23
Belgium vs. Tunisia5:30 PM (IST)Moscow
Germany vs. Sweden8:30 PM (IST)Sochi
South Korea vs. Mexico11:30 PM (IST)Rostov
SUNDAY, JUNE 24
England vs. Panama5:30 PM (IST)Nizhny Novgorod
Japan vs. Senegal8:30 PM (IST)Yekaterinburg
Poland vs. Colombia11:30 PM (IST)Kazan
MONDAY, JUNE 25
Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt7:30 PM (IST)Volgograd
Uruguay vs. Russia7:30 PM (IST)Samara
Iran vs. Portugal11:30 PM (IST)Saransk
Spain vs. Morocco11:30 PM (IST)Kaliningrad
TUESDAY, JUNE 26
Australia vs. Peru7:30 PM (IST)Sochi
Denmark vs. France7:30 PM (IST)Moscow
Iceland vs. Croatia11:30 PM (IST)Rostov
Nigeria vs. Argentina11:30 PM (IST)Saint Petersburg
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27
South Korea vs. Germany7:30 PM (IST)Kazan
Mexico vs. Sweden7:30 PM (IST)Yekaterinburg
Switzerland vs. Costa Rica11:30 PM (IST)Nizhny Novgorod
Serbia vs. Brazil11:30 PM (IST)Saint Petersburg
THURSDAY, JUNE 28
Japan vs. Poland7:30 PM (IST)Volgograd
Senegal vs. Colombia7:30 PM (IST)Samara
England vs. Belgium11:30 PM (IST)Kaliningrad
Panama vs. Tunisia11:30 PM (IST)Saransk
SATURDAY, JUNE 30
Round of 16: Match 50: Group C winner vs. Group D runner-upRound of 16: Match 50: Group C winner vs. Group D runner-up7:30 PM (IST)Kazan
Round of 16: Match 49: Group A winner vs. Group B runner-upRound of 16: Match 49: Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up11:30 PM (IST)Sochi
SUNDAY, JULY 1
Round of 16: Match 51: Group B winner vs. Group A runner-upRound of 16: Match 51: Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up7:30 PM (IST)Moscow
Round of 16: Match 52: Group D winner vs. Group C runner-upRound of 16: Match 52: Group D winner vs. Group C runner-up11:30 PM (IST)Nizhny Novgorod
MONDAY, JULY 2
Round of 16: Match 53: Group E winner vs. Group F runner-upRound of 16: Match 53: Group E winner vs. Group F runner-up7:30 PM (IST)Samara
Round of 16: Match 54: Group G winner vs. Group H runner-upRound of 16: Match 54: Group G winner vs. Group H runner-up11:30 PM (IST)Rostov
TUESDAY, JULY 3
Round of 16: Match 55 (Group F winner vs. Group E runner-up)Round of 16: Match 55 (Group F winner vs. Group E runner-up)7:30 PM (IST)Saint Petersburg
Round of 16: Match 56 (Group H winner vs. Group G runner-up)Round of 16: Match 56 (Group H winner vs. Group G runner-up)11:30 PM (IST)Rostov
FRIDAY, JULY 6
Quarterfinal: Match 57 (Match 49 winner vs. Match 50 winner)Quarterfinal: Match 57 (Match 49 winner vs. Match 50 winner)7:30 PM (IST)Nizhny Novgorod
Quarterfinal: Match 58 (Match 53 winner vs. Match 54 winner)Quarterfinal: Match 58 (Match 53 winner vs. Match 54 winner)11:30 PM (IST)Kazan
SATURDAY, JULY 7
Quarterfinal: Match 60 (Match 55 winner vs. Match 66 winner)Quarterfinal: Match 60 (Match 55 winner vs. Match 66 winner)7:30 PM (IST)Samara
Quarterfinal: Match 59 (Match 51 winner vs. Match 52 winner)11:30 PM (IST)Sochi
TUESDAY, JULY 10
Semifinal: Match 61 (Match 57 winner vs. Match 58 winner)11:30 PM (IST)Saint Petersburg
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11
Semifinal: Match 62 (Match 59 winner vs. Match 60 winner)11:30 PM (IST)Moscow
SATURDAY, JULY 14
Third-place match: Match 63 (Match 61 loser vs. Match 62 loser)7:30 PM (IST)Saint Petersburg
SUNDAY, JULY 15
Final: Match 64 (Match 61 winner vs. Match 62 winner)8:30 PM (IST)Moscow







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