Ranking the Most Watched Sporting Events Worldwide
Determining the most watched sporting events worldwide is challenging, especially in today’s landscape, where viewers have various ways of tuning in. Our methodology for ranking these events considers TV viewership, including streaming, duration, and peak levels. We also believe the most recent iterations of these events. We can accurately picture the most watched sporting events worldwide by incorporating these factors.
The World Cup of Soccer – A Global Phenomenon
Unsurprisingly, the World Cup of Soccer is the most-watched sporting event worldwide. With a staggering viewership of 5 billion people in 2022, the World Cup captivates audiences like no other. This quadrennial tournament features national soccer teams from around the globe competing for the ultimate prize. The engagement with the World Cup goes beyond viewership numbers, with billions of social media engagements recorded during the tournament. The World Cup is a spectacle that unites fans across borders and showcases the power of the beautiful game.
Next World Cup: June – July 2026 in Canada, Mexico, and the United States
The Tour de France – Cycling’s Grand Event
Cycling enthusiasts eagerly tune in to the Tour de France, making it one of the most-watched sporting events worldwide. With a viewership of 3.5 billion in recent years, the Tour de France captivates audiences with its grueling stages and scenic routes through France. The event draws a large audience, although viewership numbers tend to peak during critical moments of the race. The Tour de France is a testament to the endurance and skill of the athletes who compete, and its rich history and traditions make it an event that fans eagerly anticipate.
Next Tour de France: June 29 – July 21, 2024, in France
The Cricket World Cup – A Global Cricket Extravaganza
Cricket may be less prevalent in certain regions, but it reigns supreme in many parts of the world. The Cricket World Cup, the international championship for One Day International cricket, boasts a viewership of 2.6 billion people. This six-week-long tournament features ten teams competing for cricket glory. The 2019 Cricket World Cup set a new record for viewership, captivating audiences with thrilling matches and showcasing the passion and skill of cricket players. As the sport continues to gain popularity, the Cricket World Cup remains a must-watch event for cricket enthusiasts worldwide.
Next Cricket World Cup: October and November 2023 in India
The Women’s World Cup – Empowering Women on the Global Stage
The Women’s World Cup has recently seen a surge in viewership and popularity. With 2 billion viewers in 2023, the tournament broke records and captivated audiences worldwide. The rise in viewership can be attributed to the growing interest in women’s sports and the incredible performances of the athletes who participate. The Women’s World Cup has shattered gender barriers and showcased female soccer players’ skill, determination, and athleticism. As the sport continues to evolve, the Women’s World Cup will undoubtedly remain a highlight on the global sporting calendar.
Next Women’s World Cup: 2027 — Dates and Hosts TBD
The Summer Games – A Celebration of Athletic Excellence
The Summer Games, held every four years, celebrate athletic excellence worldwide. With a global average reach of 2 billion viewers, the Olympics captivate audiences like no other event. The Games offer diverse sports, from swimming to gymnastics, and allow athletes to showcase their skills on the global stage. The Summer Games also foster a sense of national pride as people from around the globe cheer on their home countries. The Olympics are a testament to the power of sport to unite people and inspire greatness.
Next Summer Games: July 26 – August 11, 2024 in Paris, France
The Winter Games – Chilling Feats of Athleticism
While less widely watched than the Summer Games, the Winter Games still command 2 billion viewers worldwide. With popular sports like figure skating, alpine skiing, and ice hockey, the Winter Games capture the imagination of audiences around the globe. The event takes place over 17 days every four years and showcases the skill and bravery of winter sports athletes. The Winter Games may attract a different attention than their summer counterpart, but they provide a unique and thrilling experience for winter sports fans.
Next Winter Games: February 6-22, 2026 in Milano Cortina
The UEFA Champions League – Europe’s Elite Battle for Glory
Soccer is the most popular sport globally, and the UEFA Champions League Final is one of its most significant events. The top teams in Europe compete all season for a chance to play in this prestigious championship match. With a viewership of 450 million in 2023, the Champions League Final captivates audiences with its high-stakes drama and top-level competition. Social engagement with the event also reaches peak levels, highlighting the changing landscape of viewership and interaction with live sports. The UEFA Champions League Final is a must-watch event for soccer fans worldwide.
Next Champions League Final: June 2024 in London, England
The Super Bowl – America’s Biggest Spectacle
The Super Bowl is the pinnacle of sporting events in the United States. With a viewership of 115.1 million in 2023, the Super Bowl has become a national holiday. The game itself is just one part of the spectacle, as viewers eagerly anticipate the iconic halftime show and the creativity of the commercials. The Super Bowl transcends the world of sports, attracting viewers who may not even be avid football fans. It is a cultural phenomenon that brings people together to celebrate athleticism, entertainment, and the spirit of competition.
Next Super Bowl: February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Wimbledon – A Tradition of Tennis Excellence
Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world, captures audiences’ attention with its rich history and tradition. With a viewership of 25.6 million in 2023, Wimbledon remains one of the most-watched sporting events globally. The tournament showcases the skill and finesse of the world’s best tennis players, with memorable moments in the tournament’s storied history. From Bjorn Borg’s five consecutive championships to Roger Federer’s epic battles with Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon has provided fans with countless iconic moments that have solidified its place as a must-watch event.
Next Wimbledon: July 1-14, 2024 in London, England
The NBA Finals – Basketball’s Grand Finale
Basketball fans eagerly await the NBA Finals, the culmination of an 82-game regular season. With a viewership of 17.8 million during the 2023 finals, the NBA captivates audiences with its fast-paced action and star-studded lineups. The NBA Finals bring together the top teams in the league, pitting them against each other in a battle for basketball supremacy. The social engagement surrounding the finals is also rising, indicating the sport’s growing popularity and global appeal. The NBA Finals showcase skill, athleticism, and the competitive spirit that defines basketball.
Next NBA Finals: June 2024
The World Cup of Rugby – A Clash of Titans
Rugby’s premier event, the World Cup of Rugby, draws a dedicated fanbase and captivates audiences worldwide. With a viewership of 17 million for the 2023 tournament, the World Cup of Rugby is a spectacle of physicality and skill. The tournament features the best international teams competing over six weeks, culminating in the crowning of the world champion. The World Cup of Rugby showcases the unique aspects of the sport and allows fans to witness the power and intensity of rugby at its highest level.
Next Rugby World Cup: 2027 in Australia
The Kentucky Derby – The “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports”
The Kentucky Derby dubbed the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports,” captivates audiences with its rich history and thrilling races. With a viewership of 16.6 million during the 2023 race, the Kentucky Derby remains one of the most-watched sporting events in the United States. The event brings together the best three-year-old thoroughbreds as they race for glory on the historic Churchill Downs track. The Kentucky Derby is more than just a horse race; it is a cultural event that showcases the pageantry and excitement of horse racing.
Next Kentucky Derby: May 4, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky
The Masters – Golf’s Most Prestigious Tournament
Golf enthusiasts eagerly anticipate The Masters, the most prestigious tournament in the sport. With a viewership of 15 million for the 1997 event, The Masters captivates audiences with its iconic Augusta National setting and the skill of the world’s best golfers. The tournament holds a special place in the hearts of golf fans, representing the beginning of the golf season and the pursuit of the coveted green jacket. The Masters has produced countless memorable moments, and its rich history continues to captivate audiences worldwide.
Following Masters: April 8-14, 2024
The World Series – America’s Pastime on the Global Stage
Baseball’s World Series is a beloved fall tradition in the United States, captivating audiences with its rich history and storied rivalries. With a viewership of 14.73 million during the 2022 series, the World Series remains a major sporting event that draws fans worldwide. The series brings together the American League and National League champions as they battle for the title of World Series champions. The World Series embodies the spirit of America’s pastime and showcases the skill and determination of baseball’s finest players.
Next World Series: October 2023 in Arizona and Texas
NCAA Final Four – March Madness Takes Center Stage
College basketball fans eagerly await the NCAA Final Four, the culmination of the March Madness tournament. With a viewership of 14.7 million for the 2023 finals, the NCAA Final Four captivates audiences with its high-stakes games and Cinderella stories. The tournament features 68 teams vying for a chance to reach the Final Four and compete for the national championship. March Madness has become a cultural phenomenon in the United States, as fans fill out brackets and cheer on their favorite teams. The NCAA Final Four showcases the passion and excitement that college basketball brings.
Next NCAA Final Four: April 6-8 in Glendale, Arizona
Conclusion: The Global Appeal of Sporting Events
The most watched sporting events worldwide capture the hearts and minds of audiences across the globe. From the World Cup of Soccer’s global spectacle to the captivating drama of the Super Bowl, these events unite fans, create lasting memories, and showcase the power of sports to transcend borders. Whether it’s the thrill of the Tour de France or the grace of Wimbledon, these events captivate audiences and inspire a sense of unity and excitement. As we look to the future, these sporting events will continue to captivate audiences and showcase the best of athletic competition on a global stage.
Remember, these events are more than just games; they are cultural touchstones that unite people, ignite passions, and create lasting memories. So, whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual viewer, take advantage of the excitement and drama of the world’s most-watched sporting events.
Have you attended any of these events? Let us know.