ZURICH – The 2010 IIHF World Championship continued hockey’s success from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games with new record numbers.
The first post-Vancouver World Championship ended with a surprise winner as the Czech Republic is back among the top teams with its first medal in four years and its first gold since 2005.
The Czechs beat the heavily-favoured Russians in the gold medal game to claim the title in a tournament that broke records.
The Olympics in Vancouver were a huge success all over the world, especially in North America, setting new attendance records. And with a television audience for the Canada-USA gold medal game that outnumbered any other hockey game and was able to surpass many sports in the United States, being just behind American football.
The next top international event built on the success.
Germany 2010 showed once again that there is room for a World Championship in an Olympic year. The reason is as old as Adam Smith’s classic market theory: there’s demand. It would be foolish for the hockey not to satisfy the demand.
548,768 spectators saw the 56 games in Cologne, Mannheim and Gelsenkirchen. In Cologne, there were more than 330,000 spectators, which is more than the total number in all venues of some of previous editions. It only missed the most-attended World Championship, 2004 in the Czech Republic (Prague, Ostrava; 552,097), by a small margin.
Even without the opening game in Gelsenkirchen, Germany 2010 would rank third all-time in World Championship attendance.
The tournament also included several single-game attendance records:
- The 77,803 spectators saw the USA-Germany opening game in Gelsenkirchen for a world record in attendance.
- 19,132 fans in the gold medal game were part of the highest attendance of a World Championship game in an indoor hockey arena.
- The 18,522 fans that attended the Slovakia vs. Russia game on May 9 was the record attendance for a non-playoff game without the host team playing.
Several broadcasters (Sweden, Russia, Finland) reported very strong ratings. Germany’s leading sport broadcaster Sport1 averaged 2.5 million viewers in the Russia-Germany semi-final game which equals an average share of 16.1 percent of television viewers in a country that’s not known as a hockey power. The station’s normal share is just one percent.
A cumulative worldwide audience of 650 million from 100 countries is estimated. And IIHF.com had 2.5 times as many hits as during the 2009 World Championship, which was already a record-setting tournament for the website. Readers came from almost every country in the world, from Chile to Egypt, the Maldives or French Polynesia; with Germany, Russia and Canada topping the ranking.
The success of Germany 2010 has inspired more nations to bid for the tourney as they were impressed and inspired by the German organizing committee. 16 countries have hosted the tournament so far (since 1930): Austria, Canada, Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Russia/Soviet Union, Sweden, Switzerland, United States and Yugoslavia.
Next year, a new country will host as Slovakia and its venues Bratislava (secondary venue in 1959 and 1992 in then-Czechoslovakia) and Košice are in the midst of preparations. Belarus will be the next one in 2014 while countries like Denmark, Hungary, Slovenia and Ukraine hope to bring the tournament to their countries after 2016 with bids challenging the top nations.
“The real ice age is going to happen in Slovakia at the end of April next year. The Slovak Republic will become the Hockey Republic,” announced Martin Ryba, the marketing director of the 2011 organizers after publishing the official trailer
of the organizing committee.
Stay tuned on IIHF.com for a review and outlook of the teams from the 2010 and 2011 World Championships.