DOHA/KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Football Confederation says the current Asian Cup in Qatar has engaged with more fans than ever before after just 10 days of competition with impressions on its digital channels exceeding the 1.5 billion mark – making it the first AFC competition to reach the milestone.

Reinforcing the passion for football on the continent, the achievement almost doubles the previous record of 836m impressions set during the entirety of the 2019 edition in the United Arab Emirates.

Datuk Seri Windsor John, the AFC general secretary said: “Football is ultimately the people’s game and the AFC, through its Vision, shares the firm belief that fans are the heartbeat of the beautiful game.

“We know that we must speak to our fans in a language they understand and on platforms they populate, and we are resolute towards creating more innovative ways to not only strengthen our engagement but grow the fanbase of Asian football with each passing edition of our flagship men’s competition.”

Leading the way in engagement was the AFC Asian Cup™ Facebook platform, which registered 266 million impressions and 56.6 million video views, representing a staggering rise of 48% from the 2019 edition.

The Continent’s passionate fans also made their voices heard on the AFC Asian Cup™ Instagram and YouTube channels, with 259 million and 473 million impressions respectively, while X platform received a combined impressions of 95.5 million and Chinese platforms, Weibo and Douyin gathered a total of 281 million.

In recognising the sheer diversity of the Continent, the wide-ranging multi-platforms and localised-language approach has played a pivotal role in the exponential rise in engagement figures. For the first time in AFC Asian Cup™ history, the AFC’s digital media coverage has been made available in 13 different languages across 11 platforms, namely Facebook, Instagram, X, Tiktok, Snapchat, Telegram, Threads, YouTube, Weibo, Douyin and Toutiao.

Additionally, in line with the latest digital trends, AFC’s first-ever app, the AFC LIVE App which is available in English and Arabic, has been downloaded by more than 100,000 users. Through the AFC LIVE app, interactive initiatives which include Football Fantasy and Match Predictor have been launched to further galvanise the Asian football community.

At the same time, the AFC Asian Cup™ YouTube page achieved a significant milestone of acquiring over 1 million subscribers just four days after the start of the tournament. Similarly, the AFC Asian Cup™ Instagram page, which offers a geo-gated feature, is also on the verge of reaching the 1 million follower mark. This is a testament to the immense popularity of the AFC Asian Cup™ and the growing interest in Asian football.

The latest figures unanimously place the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ as the most engaging ever edition in history. In addition to breaking the attendance record for an opening match, the 18th edition is the most extensively covered showpiece with as many as 60 broadcasters showcasing the action in more than 160 territories.