Aside from unprecedented events, nothing brings the world together as an audience like sports. If you can’t be in the stands at the world’s biggest sporting events, watching on TV is the next best thing. Making plans to watch the big game (or match/fight/tournament/race) is a tradition that is shared by cultures around the world. In fact, sporting events make up the majority of the most popular TV broadcasts.
The most watched sports events in history centre around the two biggest occasions in sport: the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. They are two truly worldwide spectacles, two prolonged festivals of sport that celebrate the best across the planet. It’s not often easy to get athletes from all over the world to compete in one tournament, but the Olympics and World Cup provide just that.
Here are the top 10 most watched sporting events in history.
|1.||1996 Atlanta Olympics opening ceremony||3.6 billion|
|2.||2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony||3 billion|
|3.||2002 World Cup Final, Brazil vs. Germany||2 billion|
|4.||Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks II||2 billion|
|5.||1998 World Cup Final, France vs. Brazil||2 billion|
|6.||Muhammad Ali vs. Larry Holmes, “The Last Hurrah”||2 billion|
|7.||1984 L.A. Olympics opening ceremony||1.5 billion|
|8.||Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki||1.4 billion|
|9.||2010 World Cup Final, Spain vs. Netherlands||1 billion|
|10.||Muhammad Ali vs. Frazier III, “Thrilla in Manila”||1 billion|
|2006 World Cup Final, France vs. Italy||1 billion|
|2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, India vs. Pakistan||1 billion|
|Muhammad Ali vs. Foreman, “The Rumble in the Jungle”||1 billion|
|2018 World Cup Final, France vs. Croatia||1 billion|