Stumbled upon a fascinating article today in the Independent that talked about how viewing figures for major sports events are grossly inflated by the sporting bodies, and by extension, the media.
For example, the 2006 World Cup Final was supposedly watched by 715 million people. In fact, verifiable sources only put the number at 260 million. So where did the 715 come from? Well, suffice to say that one method widely used is "informed guesswork." I kid you not - and those are not my words either.
The 2006 Superbowl, allegedly watched by 750 million to a billion people? Turns out the number may have been a lot closer to 98 million. I wonder what Anheuser-Busch think about the $2.6 million they spent for each ad now?
The Winter Olympics opening ceremony? 2 billion viewers claimed, but only about 87 million verifiable. So they guessed at the other 1.913 billion. Fantastic.
The Commonwealth Games opening ceremony? 1 billion stated, 5 million verifiable. 99.5% guesswork - I'm sure that would go down well in my day job!