Most-Watched Sporting Events In TV History

Those old enough to have witnessed England’s victory in the 1966 football World Cup final can remember exactly where they were on that incredible day.


As do those Red Rose fans who witnessed the 2003 rugby World Cup triumph. For sports fans, watching their side – in whatever sport – compete in the biggest competitions on the planet gives them the ultimate thrill. Adrenaline, hope, excitement, likely disappointment and nervous tension all mix together to create a quite-unique sensation that non-sports fans will simply be unable to understand.

1. FIFA World Cup – it was almost inevitable that international football’s premier tournament would be top of this list – with the FIFA World Cup drawing an average cumulative TV audience of 3.5billion every four years. In fact, the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in Brazil drew almost 1billion viewers alone – now that’s impressive.

2. Tour De France – A slight surprise at number two on the list, but the three-week Tour de France attracts an average TV viewership of 2.6billion – but perhaps it shouldn’t come as a shock seeing as cycling’s most-famous Grand Tour, which takes place in July, is actually the best-attended annual sporting event on the planet.

3. (Summer) Olympic Games – London 2012 may have captured the imagination of the British public – but the quadrennial Olympic Games is actually loved all around the world. An average 2billion tune in to watch the likes of Usain Bolt (pictured, right) win the 100-metres and Mo Farah (pictured, left) claim gold in the 10,000-metres – and that’s before you even mention the various sports outside the athletics’ stadium.

4. UEFA Champions League – European football attracts the top talent in the world – which is exactly why the continent’s premier club competition the UEFA Champions League has an annual global TV audience of 1.7billion.

5. FIFA Confederations Cup – The first of three entries for the world’s most-loved sport, the FIFA Confederations Cup – played between the six FIFA confederation championship winners, the World Cup holder, as well as the host nation – was first introduced in 1992 and is watched by an average 1billion TV viewers every four years.

10. ODI Cricket World Cup – It’s perhaps unsurprising when India vs Pakistan at the 2015 World Cup brought a global audience of more than 1billion viewers – making it the most-watched match in history – that this quadrennial 50-over tournament gets on the list, and its average viewership is around 400million.

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