ABU DHABI, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 engaged with more fans than ever before as more than 836.6 million fans interacted through the tournament's digital platforms, shattering the record of the 2015 edition in Australia and nearly doubling the 434 million TV viewership for that tournament.
The tournament wrapped up on Friday after Qatar stunned four-time champion Japan 3-1 to win the title for the first time.
Qatar were crowned the Asian champion with a seven-game winning streak, scoring 19 goals and just conceded one.
The astonishing impact of the biggest-ever AFC Asian Cup was felt across all social platforms with the AFC Asian Cup Facebook page reaching 169.4 million impressions, a staggering increase by more than 15 times from the 11 million reach four years ago.
Furthermore, fans also made their voices heard on Twitter, which received over 106.5 million impressions compared to three million in the last edition.
The biggest rise, however, was felt on the tournament's official Instagram account, which garnered an astonishing reach of nearly 132.4 million compared to the one million engaged in Australia, as another 52.8 million impressions were garnered on Instagram stories.
Meanwhile, the-AFC.com, which was exclusively remodeled for the Continental showpiece one month before kick-off in the UAE, was a one-stop hub for fans and media alike, receiving over 30.9 million page views, or 100% more than the 15 million from Australia 2015.
The 28-day tournament was also a great success on YouTube with viewers tuning in to notch-up 42.5 million minutes of viewed action. Asia's crown jewel was also a hit in China PR as the AFC's ever-expanding Weibo platform reached over 50 million impressions.
AFC General Secretary Dato' Windsor John said the consumer patterns of today's football fans continue to shift rapidly, and the AFC's digital offerings "have been significantly enhanced to meet the demands of our passionate fans," according to AFC.com website.
"Our ambition with every competition is to improve on the legacy from the last edition and the hundreds of millions engaged by the world-class football on display exemplifies the undeniable rise and progress of Asian football," John said.
"We will continue to strengthen our digital platforms as we strive to bring to life our Vision to confirm football as the number one sport on the Continent," John added.
For his part, AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has hailed Qatar for creating history in claiming a first-ever AFC Asian Cup title.
"On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Qatar for their remarkable grit and passion throughout the tournament," Al Khalifa said.
"In claiming their maiden crown, Qatar have set the benchmark for all Asian teams and I am sure their success will serve as an inspiration for everyone to scale even greater heights," he added.
He said this victory is testament to the hard work and immaculate planning undertaken by the Qatar Football Association and special praise must also go to the coaching staff and everyone working tirelessly behind the scene.
"Both teams reached the final undefeated and we must congratulate Japan for showcasing great resolve throughout the tournament and their outstanding efforts to compete with Qatar, culminating in a spectacular final for the Continent's passionate fans."
The AFC president also praised the outstanding efforts of everyone involved including the Government of UAE, UAE Football Association, the Local Organising Committee, all the competing teams and Member Associations as well as the broadcasters, commercial partners and fans for ensuring the success of the biggest-ever Continental showpiece in history.
"The AFC decided to expand the tournament from 16 to 24 teams to provide more opportunities for our Member Associations to compete at the highest level and I am particularly pleased by the impact and legacy of the competition on our teams," he added.
"I have no doubts that the commendable displays by our developing nations will drive others to emulate their success and ultimately, raise the level of competition throughout the Continent."
The AFC Asian Cup is the second oldest continental football championship after Copa America. The winning team qualifies for the FIFA Confederations Cup.
The United Arab Emirates was announced as the host for the tournament on March 9, 2015. It is the second time that the UAE hosts the tournament.
For the first time, the Asian Cup, which kicked off on January 5 and ended on February 1, was contested by 24 teams instead of 16 teams.
Under the new format, the 24 finalists play a group stage consisting of six groups of four teams, followed by a knockout stage of 16 teams.