54 days to go: Beamed around the world

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is getting closer – 54 days to go!

In less than two months’ time – on 14 June, to be precise – the 21st FIFA World Cup™ kicks off at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, as the hosts take on Saudi Arabia.​

That leaves us plenty of time to enjoy a countdown. Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will take a closer look at a different statistic from the history of the tournament each day.​​

54 Where would the FIFA World Cup™ be today without live broadcasting? While we have all become accustomed to streaming or on-demand services, there is still nothing quite like watching a game “live”.

The World Cup was broadcast live on television for the first time in 1954. Around 90 million people watched the tournament’s matches on approximately four million black-and-white sets and ultimately witnessed the Miracle of Bern, when West Germany beat overwhelming favourites Hungary 3-2 in front of a sell-out crowd of 64,000 at the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, Switzerland.

This technological revolution began eight years earlier in October 1946, when the BBC showed its first live football match on television as Barnet took on Wealdstone at London’s Underhill Stadium. Yet this maiden broadcast was not without its difficulties – only 20 minutes of the first half were shown, and the transmission abruptly concluded 35 minutes into the second half when it became too dark for the cameras.

The first international match was broadcast in Switzerland on 25 April, just a few weeks before the 1954 finals. Germany beat the hosts 5-3 in a friendly match that signalled the start of a new era of technology.