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World Cup 2022

How many people watch the World Cup?

How many people watch the World Cup?

Do you ever ask yourself ‘how many people watch the World Cup?’ We consistently hear about how no other sporting event pulls in more viewers than the World Cup.

Billions of people watch the tournament. In fact, in 2018, FIFA estimated that over one billion people watched the World Cup Final between France and Croatia. On average, the live audience hovered around 517 million concurrent viewers.

How many people watch the World Cup?

That average is actually less than the previous two World Cup Finals. In 2010 in South Africa, an average of 531 viewers watched Spain defeat the Netherlands in extra time. Four years later, Argentina and Germany played to a TV crowd of roughly 562 million people across the globe.

The biggest competitor in terms of viewership is the Tour de France. People dispute which competition pulls in more viewers, but looking at the list of each country’s most-watched television broadcasts, there is one constant. A number of major countries, including France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Brazil have heavy doses of the FIFA World Cup.

United States viewership

In the U.S., how many people watch the World Cup is on the rise, as is the general growth of the sport. However, it still does not live up to the bar set by the Super Bowl.

For example, the Super Bowl averaged around 95 million total viewers over the last 33 years. FIFA World Cup viewership numbers are somewhat harder to come by. However, looking at the last couple of years, the World Cup is all over the place. In 2010, ABC and Univision drew 24.3 million viewers. For the Final in 2014, just 17.3 million watched on ABC. Most recently in the 2018 Final, the average viewership in the United States was just under 12 million, while it peaked at 15 million.

Regardless, billions watch across the world, and the United States returning to the competition will boost those numbers for FOX in November.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. dave

    May 4, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    What is the source for these data? The US totals look low, are some English only? Data I have seen for World Cup Final viewing averages on linear TV in the US are roughly:
    * Spanish – 2010 9 million, 2014 9 million, 2018 5.5 million
    * English – 2010 16 million, 2014 17.5 million, 2018 12.5 million
    2010 (Spain) and 2014 (Argentina) may have had broader appeal to Hispanic fans
    2010 and 2014 finals both had extra time and kicked off ~1900 UTC (noon PDT / 3 pm EDT). 2018 final ended in regulation and kicked off ~1500 UTC (8 am PDT / 11 am EDT). Kickoff for 2022 final is planned for ~1500 UTC (7 am PST / 10 am EST)

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