Football fans are in for a treat throughout 2022, with fans of both soccer and NFL counting down the days to Super Bowl LVI, another Champions League final, the UEFA European Women’s Football Championship and a World Cup in Qatar.
American football’s big day in the sun is first on the calendar, with the Los Angeles Rams set to face the Cincinnati Bengals at their SoFi Stadium home in California on February 13.
Millions will tune in to watch that contest from around the world, with an ever-growing legion of loyal followers extending well beyond the boundaries of the United States, but how do viewing figures stack up against flagship events in soccer? GOAL takes a look…
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Super Bowl vs World Cup final: How viewing figures compare
According to FIFA, the 2018 World Cup final – which saw France overcome Croatia 4-2 – reached an average worldwide audience of 517 million viewers, with over 1.1 billion spectators tuning in at some point over the course of 90 thrilling minutes.
In comparison, the Super Bowl tends to average just under 100 million viewers in the USA, with a further 30-50 million tuning in from elsewhere.
In 2021, figures for a meeting between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs came in at just 96.4 million in the States – making it the lowest watched Super Bowl since 2007.
Super Bowl vs Champions League final: How viewing figures compare
When turning attention to European football’s showpiece event, viewing figures still dwarf those that the Super Bowl pulls in.
The Champions League final tends to attract between 380 million and 400 million spectators that are tuning in from outside of the venue playing host to a star-studded occasion.
UEFA will also be delighted to hear that Euro 2020 pulled in a cumulative live match audience of over 5 billion, while 328 million fans watched a final showdown between England and Italy at Wembley Stadium – with the contest being the most-watched televised event in the UK for 24 years.
Which sporting events attract the biggest audiences?
Tour de France
Soccer World Cup
Cricket World Cup
Summer Olympic Games
Winter Olympic Games
Women's World Cup
UEFA Champions League
NCAA Final Four
While football dominates a global market across various competitions, it is cycling’s Tour de France that continues to pull in the biggest viewing figures.
The Cricket World Cup, both versions of the Olympic Games – summer and winter – and certain high-profile boxing events all attract over 1 billion spectators and rank above the Super Bowl in a global top 10.
In terms of television broadcasts alone, tournaments which are spread over a month tend to bring in the greatest cumulative viewership. Euro 2020, which took place across June and July 2021, boasted a record 5 billion TV viewers.
After that comes the 2016 Rio Summer Paralympics with 4.1 billion viewers. The 2012 London Summer Olympics and 2016 Rio Summer Olympics complete the top billing with each event drawing in 3.6 billion viewers.