Sport has the ability to transcend nations and borders. Drawing audiences from across the globe, the biggest events are watched by billions. In fact, so many share the highs and lows of these epic sporting occasions that our minds can’t conjure what these sorts of numbers look like.
Take the FIFA World Cup, which drew an audience of 3.5 billion back in 2018. Or the Tour De France, which was found to have attracted the same phenomenal viewership when figures for the 2019 contest were compiled. These events take people from every corner of the earth and allow them to share in a unique communal experience. When you think about it like that – of billions of people feeling the same sweeping highs and lows – there’s something incredible about it.
To celebrate this amazing feat, we pulled together some figures. Without further ado, here you have the most-watched sporting events in the world: the numbers, the facts, and why you might want to become a part of them yourself the next time around.
The FIFA World Cup
According to FIFA, more than 3.5 billion people viewed the 2018 World Cup. While they didn’t all tune in simultaneously, 516.6 million of them experienced the final together, with many more watching on digital devices and in public settings both during and after the match. The biggest draw, naturally, was the closer, with 1.12 billion people tuning in to watch at least one minute of France beating Croatia (the eventual score was 4-2). Indeed, each of the 64 games in the tournament averaged 191 million viewers, up from 187 million in 2014.
Not only did this global audience watch the game, but they participated in lots of other ways too. Some bought tickets and flew across the world to sit in the stands and spectate; others placed bets, hoping to take home a cut of the victorious teams’ successes.
The latter came from across the world, with overseas directory sites like Asiabet.org ensuring that Western audiences weren’t the only ones who could get involved. Enthusiastic fans who would also like to embrace these elements can do so by taking a look at the football sports betting guide at the site we linked to. Those looking to get involved with the betting community will find supplementary information about free bets and payment guides. Beyond that, there are reviews to help highlight the best sportsbooks.
The Tour de France
It’s not only football that a global audience can get behind; the same is true of cycling. Equally capable of transcending borders, the Tour de France drew viewers from far beyond its famous home in 2020.
Held every summer in its country of origin, the Tour de France is the most prestigious cycling event in the world, with competitors hailing from across the globe. Known for its challenging course and difficult terrain, it comes complete with a scenic backdrop and plenty of thrills, both of which help to cement its global popularity.
The race involves 21 separate stages, spanning a distance of roughly 2,200 miles. Though it lasts for more than 23 days, its duration has not negatively impacted its allure, with it drawing record viewing figures in 2019. With an estimated audience of 3.5 billion, it’s no wonder that sponsors are eager to get behind those who don the famous yellow jersey.
Check out the Tour de France-focused articles at our BellyUpSports.com racing page to read about some of its most prolific wearers.
The Cricket World Cup
Western audiences might be surprised to find cricket on the list of most watched sports. While we know it has a global following, few people realize quite how popular the sport is outside of North America. The answer is ‘very’. In fact, it’s so beloved across the world, especially in countries like India, that the 2019 Cricket World Cup pulled in an audience of 2.6 billion. This set a new record, making the tournament the most-watched cricket event of all time.
Hosted by England and Wales during its last outing, the contest featured 10 teams and lasted for more than six weeks. With fantastic playing from all sides, it kept audiences on tenterhooks throughout.
It was England who proved victorious, but not before their crown had been hotly contested. The action was so gripping that many spectators are already looking forward to the event’s next outing in 2023 when it will be held in India.
When it comes to bringing nations together, there’s nothing like a global sporting