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The World’s Most Watched Sporting Events

Although sports fans throughout the United States are pinned to their televisions every time their favorite team is playing, at home or away, it might come as a shock to hear that the rest of the world just doesn’t view things in the same way.

In fact, US sports are not top on the list anywhere else in the world so you might be in for a shock when you learn just which sporting events were the most watched ever. Bear in mind that football as we know it is only football here at home. To the rest of the civilized world, football is what we call soccer in the United States.

Following is a rundown on the most watched sporting events ever so you can see just how ‘unpopular’ American sports are on a global level. However, there is always margin for error because of the questionable accuracy in polling within various nations. Also, when comparing notes, these top positions do vary from one news agency to the next, but even so, what’s a position or two in the top ten when you are talking about a billion viewers globally? It’s hard to wrap your head around that, isn’t it? One billion people tuned in all at the same moment to watch that winning play – now that’s impressive!

Betting advice with could provide interest when watching the matches. According to Zach Mcphail, CEO of RealBookies, “It’s difficult to know exactly how many people are watching a sporting event because the polling firms simply take a random sampling of people to call and also, few people actually answer phones anymore! In fact, few people even have home phone lines because everyone has a cell phone. Those who answer online polls are probably not the same people who would be placing offshore bets so it’s hard to say if those numbers are accurate. I believe it would be more accurate to ask a bookie which games got the heaviest action and then you could have a much more realistic assessment as to how many people were actually watching the game.”

5. FIFA Confederations Cup

Since the FIFA Confederation Cup championship games are held every four years, they are eagerly awaited by fans around the world. It is estimated that for each of those games since 1992 (when they began!) about one billion people tune in to watch via cable networks when the championships roll around every fourth year.

4. Super Bowl XLVI

It is not unusual to hear network analysts stating that the reason so many viewers tune into the Super Bowl each year is for the halftime show. With such top billed stars as Janet Jackson (and her infamous wardrobe fiasco) and her brother (different years) Michael headlining the event, it’s easy to see how people could think that. Then there was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, The Who and the list goes on and on. Although this particular Super Bowl only had a viewing of 111 million people, that’s pretty amazing considering that most of the world doesn’t even know what football American style really is!

3. ICC Cricket World Cup Championship

In the United States there are few people left who really appreciate the game of cricket and probably fewer yet have even heard of it outside a romantic novel. However, throughout Europe and elsewhere around the world it is still a highly popular sport watched by millions. In 2011 the matchup between bitter and long-time rivals India and Pakistan was viewed live by almost a billion people, if not more. It’s hard to say if positions 4 and 5 should be reversed due to just how close those numbers are, but even so, a billion viewers is quite impressive for a game we know little about over here.

2. 2008 Beijing – The Olympics

Many analysts believe that the 2008 Olympics was probably the most viewed sporting event ever simply because people from all over the globe were watching to see how their athletes fared. It’s hard to say exactly how many people watched any one event but it is known that at least 600 million tuned into the opening ceremonies.

1. FIFA World Cup

So, here we see FIFA again in the top 5. Since this championship is held every four years and has done so since 1930, it is not unimaginable to see how it could take the number one spot as the most viewed sporting event ever. In fact, year after year it tops the roster with the 2010 game between The Netherlands and Spain capturing a viewing audience of an estimated 700 million viewers.

While some analysts have these rankings up or down by a number or two, it is the opinion of most that this list is fairly accurate. The one ‘amazing’ point is that American football made the grade at all, but with a sport that is as popular at home as this one, there are enough people Stateside to bring those numbers up. It will be interesting to watch how these ranking evolve as the years go by. Even so, don’t expect much from American sports events on a global viewing level.

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