Iraqi wins 'doubled' Asian Cup's media exposure

Asia's premier football championship received unprecedented global coverage thanks to the fairytale journey of the national team from war-ravaged Iraq. "We had double the media exposure this year than the last Asian Cup held in China," Claire Kenny Tipton, Director of Marketing and Media and Communications for the Asian Football Confederation, told IPS. "The championship became a story that went beyond our region. We even had broadcast partners in North America and on-line streaming for the European market."

By the time the Iraq and Saudi Arabian teams stepped on to the field at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in the Indonesian capital, the "interest had moved from across the traditional sports media; it became a news story," said Tipton. And the Iraqi's flair demonstrated on the playing fields across South-east Asia is being credited for what the AFC describes as the ''breakthrough Asian Cup''. "This new interest was because of Iraq's wins," said Tipton. "Iraq's achievement was huge as a story and for their country."