Top 10 Most-Watched Sporting Events in the World

Watching sporting events did not start a few years ago, in fact, sports dates back far much earlier to the times of the ancient Greeks. And from what we get from history books, these events had huge audiences in the arenas where they were being watched. Nowadays, the trend is still the same, but the only difference is the kind of technological advancements we have now. Consequently, everybody doesn’t have to go to where the event takes place, but a television set, a computer or a mobile device is just enough to watch all the games. Because of this, millions of people from all over the world have a chance to cheer for their favourite teams in real-time as they play. But then again, not all sports events register an overwhelming number of viewers. Nonetheless, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the events that have a significantly smaller viewership are any less interesting. In the majority of cases, while the most watched sports have a massive global fellowship, the massive viewership is garnered because the competitions are arranged after a specific number of years to mark the peak of equally competitive preliminary events.  So, what is the most watched sporting event? Let’s dive in!

  • FIFA World Cup – 3.5 Billion Viewers

After every four years, the world witnesses the most anticipated Football tournament of all time, the FIFA world. It has been taking place after every other four years since 1930, except between 1942 and 1946 as a result of the WWII. It registers large audiences because all national football teams around the world have been playing against each other. In case you are a football fan, you can imagine the kind of high stakes in play here, and this makes the viewers even more zealous! In 2014, when the previous world cup was taking place, the final game between football giants, Germany and Argentina attracted over 1 billion viewers around the world. Moreover, the average audience reach per each game in the tournament was a cool 200 million.  This means, after all the 64 games that were played, the tournament had almost 13 billion views up to the finals. So, is this the most watched sporting event in the world? It sure is! This year (2018) again in Russia, there was a huge turn out of players from around the globe who travelled to Russia to watch the football live. While overall reports indicate a slight drop in global viewership by a mere 2% from 2014, the numbers are still impressive, and to date, only a handful of tournaments enjoy such huge figures of viewership.  In as much as there are other football tournaments like UEFA or champions league that have very high audience count, none of them can get even close to the highly hailed FIFA world cup!

  • Tour De France – 2.6 Billion Viewers

Most of the people who don’t know about this event tend to perceive the Tour De France as any other regular sporting tournament. Well, if you are still in the dark, lets shed some light here.  The Tour De France is an intense 3-week cycling tournament that has the very high number of attendees, with over 2.6 billion viewers. In the last year alone, the Tour De France set Television record of over 1.2 billion viewers in each stage of the game, making it the second most watched sporting event in the world. In France where the event takes place, Eurosport covered every minute of the event which also resulted in the general increase in the number of audiences. Another factor that greatly contributes to this number is that the event is aired live in almost every country in the world.

  • Olympic Games – 2 Billion Viewers

Just like the mighty world cup, the Olympic games take place after every four years, and the number of audiences is pretty high as well. The last Olympic games were hosted in Rio de Janiero which registered a high audience count of over 2 billion viewers. One of the major reasons why this particular sport has many views is because of the variety of sports taking place; which in turns guarantees that people with different tastes will have something to cheer on. Among the games being hosted, the most watched games in the summer Olympics include Swimming, track-and-field as well as gymnastics. And by the way, other than the actual sports that take place, the opening ceremony of the games also attracts a massive audience. For instance, back in 2012, 41 million Americans alone watched the opening ceremony of the London Olympic ceremonies through the NBC. Isn’t that impressive?

  • UEFA Champions League – 1.7 Billion Views

It is the most cherished football club tournament in the whole of Europe. Next, to the world cup, the UEFA Champions League trophy is also the most coveted tournament cup in the history of football. For the fans, this is usually an emotionally charged contest, and the winning team that takes the trophy home leaves their fans unforgettably ecstatic. It’s no wonder why the UEFA Champions League typically registers over 1.7 billion viewers summed up from all the individual matches throughout the tournament.

  • FIFA Confederations Cup – 1 Billion Viewers

Before the grand FIFA World Cup takes place, FIFA confederations tournament is held. It is comprised of the current winners of the following football tournaments contesting; the leagues include AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, UEFA, CONMEBOL and OFC as well as the current world cup champion to win the cup.  And as expected, this is another intense tournament with champions from all over the world coming together to play against each other. The previous FIFA Confederations Cup was held in Russia, and it had audience amounting up to 1 billion! One of the main reasons why this event registers such huge audience numbers is because plays a great role in speculating which teams are most likely to win of the upcoming FIFA world cup.

  • Asian Games – 986 Million Views

The Asian continent is known for having rich cultural backgrounds as well as some amazing custom sporting events. Besides, the population of all the Asian countries sums up to almost half the population of the world. So, when we see Asian games registering over 986-million viewers as they happen, it doesn’t come as a surprise. All the Asian countries come together to embrace one of their own sporting events in a massive celebration that gets admiration from the rest of the globe.  

  • Rugby World Cup – 789 Million Viewers

This is a men’s rugby tournament which is contested after every four years between the best international rugby teams. Being that it is a gentlemen’s game, it still has very many viewers compared to plenty of other games. The previous Rugby World Cup Tournament, registered over 789-million viewers worldwide with the teams that participated coming from countries like England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya and South Africa. Back in 2015, no teams from the Northern Hemisphere were playing, but it still managed to attract huge television audiences.  According to World Rugby, they had a viewing audience globally amounting to almost 120 million. Moreover, a popular TV channel, ITV1 had an average viewership of up to 8.2 million during the finals. This evidently confirms that it is among the most viewed sporting event in the world.

  • Giro d’Italia – 775 Million Viewers

The Italians also have their own Cycling tournament, just like the Tour de France cycling tournament. It may not be the biggest sporting event, but it still manages to attract an audience that’s nearly as huge as that of Tour de France. It boats of attracting an average of 775 million viewers across different sporting television channels locally and across the globe. And by the way, the Giro d’Italia usually takes place during the spring season in France which lies between May and June, making it pretty easy to have live spectators along the race tracks as the races go on.

  • Winter Olympics – 478 Million Viewers

Winter Olympics is generally an Olympic sporting event that is held in a similar manner with the only difference being the sports being hosted. In Winter Olympics, Winter sports like skiing, snowboarding are the only ones being played. A while back, both summer and winter Olympics were being held in the same year but in the mid-1980s, they changed it, and currently, these events are alternated after every 2 years. It’s easy to think that since this event takes place during cold weather, that automatically means fewer attendees, right? Well, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. In the last winter Olympics alone, as many as 478 million viewers watched the games live in the venue and from many different parts of the world. According to NBC during the last Winter Olympics, they had a turn up of over 20 million viewers. Other TV channels like PyeongChang also registered marvellous numbers that went to highs of 18.9 million viewers. And, among all the games played in the Winter Olympics, skiing and freestyle snowboarding are usually among the most enjoyed events since they often register the largest number of viewers on average per tournament.

  • Cricket World Cup – 400 Million Viewers

Cricket is the most common sports in India. And from what we know, India is also one of the most populated countries in the world. Now, everything makes sense when we see the number of Television viewers shooting high up after every four years the Cricket world cup takes place. During the last Cricket World Cup event which was in 2015, all the Cricket matches that featured India were noted as the most watched games ever been recorded according to International Cricket Council. In 2011 During the finals between India and Sri Lanka, it was reported that 558 million viewers were watching the action-packed match. Furthermore, in the 2015 world cup, all the matches between India and Pakistan had an average viewer totalling up to 320 million, but the one that had the biggest viewership soared to over 1 billion viewers! However, it is not just the Indians who are accounting for these numbers, plenty of other countries also enjoy cricket as well. For instance, the British sports Broadcaster, Sky Sports registered an average amount of 1.1 million viewers when England defeated India during the women’s 2017 Cricket World Cup finals.