Over June and July RTE, Ireland's national television and radio broadcaster, will beam images from World Cup 2014 in Brazil to T.V sets throughout the Irish state. For many sports enthusiasts this will bring great satisfaction. For the non-football fan however, what appears to be wall to wall football coverage, can test one's mental endurance.
At the start of the Premier League last year I calculated how much football could be watched early in the season. Below is the math and some RTE entertainment comparisons to put into context the extent of World Cup coverage on RTE relative to a years worth of other T.V entertainment.
A dye in the wool football fan can view 5040 minutes of football action on RTE over the month (5 group games across the eight groups, as the last two kick off together, and 16 post group ties). This figure is a minimum and doesn't take into account opening/closing ceremonies, added time, extra time, highlight shows, the musings of any pundit or the superb Après Match.
To put this number (5040) in perspective, the 2012 season of the Australian soap Home and Away aired by RTE lasted 4950 minutes, that's 225 episodes that ran for 22 minutes each. In terms of just the 90 minutes of football, if one was to watch the entire World Cup on RTE it would be similar to watching just over an entire season of Home and Away in one month.
Season 51 of the Late Late Show, Ireland's Premier National talk show, lasted 4440 minutes, that's 37 episodes lasting 120 minutes each. Again, spending this time with Ryan Tubridy is not far off the extent of World Cup footage on RTE.
In terms of other popular drama and entertainment shows on RTE, watching the entire World Cup would equate to viewing about 229 episodes of The Big Bang Theory, about 8 seasons of Celebratory Masterchef and would be close to seeing Dermot and his team renovate nearly 100 houses in Room to Improve!
Of course, the World Cup only happens every 4 years, so perhaps we should only think of a quarter of this viewing time or alternatively we could appreciate that soap fans just smooth their consumption and shouldn't be too frustrated. For me however these stats (especially the Home and Away one!) put into perspective what those who have no preference for football have to endure for June and July of 2014.