List of most watched sports events on television

The World’s Most Viewed Sporting Events

Sports have the power to bring humanity together. The competitiveness, drive and zeal that athletes show towards perfecting their craft and competing at the highest level, often leads to spectacles that can only be seen, to be believed. Watching live sport is the ultimate viewing experience and cannot, not matter how hard one tries, be replaced by watching the same on a television screen. Here is a list of the world’s most celebrated and watched sporting events.

2014 FIFA World Cup

Quite easily the world’s most popular sporting event, had to belong to the world’s most popular sport! The 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil was watched by a staggering 3 billion people. To put that into perspective, the world’s population is 7 billion, which means 3 out of every 7 people in the world were glued to the action from football’s quadrennial showpiece event. This number of course would be further augmented by the number of people who watched the action in person, at the massive stadiums.

2011 ICC World Cup Final

A final between two sub-continental cricketing giants. The most widely watched match in the history of cricket. Held in Mumbai on a hot, balmy evening, the match between India and Sri Lanka, saw nearly 67.6 million people in the cricket crazy nation tune in to their TV sets. This is a phenomenal number, considering that this is a single match we’re talking about, not an entire tournament! it could easily go down as the most viewed match in history.


Formula 1 isn’t a sport that everyone gets. The ultimate marriage of man and machine though has a steady following, as demonstrated by the viewership stats. According to reports, despite a fall of nearly 50 million viewers, F1’s following still stands at a respectable 450 million viewers! Quite impressive, for a sport that cannot be defined as exactly ‘mainstream’.


Tennis is one of those few individual sports that has a cult following, and the busiest calendar, in terms of events. While the 4 slams boast a total viewership of around 275 million worldwide; it is nearly impossible to calculate the number of viewers tuning into each ITF and ATP event, considering they number in the hundreds! You also must factor in Davis and Hopman Cup matches and Challenger tournaments, Senior’s tours and charity matches to get an accurate viewership picture.


The PGA tours are immensely popular spectator sports and an estimated 35 to 40 million people in the United States alone, watch major golfing events. Europe, is also high on the sport, as the EU contributes a further 40 million in terms of viewership. Asia is still an emerging market for golf, but it is definitely catching up, in terms of viewership with nearly 15 million people tuning into showcase events every year.

Sport is an activity that breeds healthy competition, rivalry and a spirit of excellence. Watching sport is one of those activities that brings people closer together and fosters bonds, after all, don’t you prefer catching a match, every now and again with your mates?