The 15 Most Watched Sports Events in the World

Sporting events provide great entertainment and moments to take a break from the hassle of daily lives.

While some people prefer to go watch sporting events at a stadium/ court/ arena, most people prefer to do so on their TVs.

With hundreds of sporting events taking place throughout the year, you may be wondering, what are the most-watched sports events in the world?

Well, below we’ve done our research and come up with a list of the most viewed sports events in the world.

Sports EventAudience
Tour de France3.5 Billion Viewers
FIFA World Cup3.3 Billion Viewers
Cricket World Cup2.6 Billion Viewers
Summer Olympic Games2 Billion Viewers
Winter Olympic Games2 Billion Viewers
Women’s World Cup1 Billion Viewers
Boxing 1 Billion Viewers
UEFA Champions League380 Million Viewers
Super Bowl97 Million Viewers
NCAA Final Four17 Million Viewers
NBA Finals16.5 Million Viewers
World Series14 Million Viewers
World Cup of Rugby12 Million Viewers
The Masters10 Million Viewers
Kentucky Derby7 Million Viewers

The Top 15 Most Viewed Sports Events in the World

1. Tour de France – 3.5 Billion Viewers

Tour de France 2020

This may come as a shock to some people that the Tour de France is the most-watched sports event in the world but it is

The Tour de France is not only the most prestigious cycling race in the world, but it draws an impressive audience.

According to race organizers, 3.5 billion people in 190 countries watch the Tour de France each year, with 12 million roadside spectators, Time reports.

The Tour de France takes place every summer in France with cyclists from all over the world competing for the Yellow Jersey. The race consists of 21 stages that cover 2200 miles and it is completed in three weeks(21 days).

Teams of eight cyclists compete in this event, racing through the scenic mountains of France until the final winner emerges.

So far, notable Tour de France winners are Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Tadej Pogačar and Miguel Induráin.

2. FIFA World Cup – 3.3 Billion Viewers

France wins World Cup in 2018

The FIFA World Cup comes as no surprise on this list. This soccer tournament is the biggest single sporting event in the world that takes place every four years.

The tournament features 32 soccer teams representing 32 different countries that compete with each other until a champion is crowned.

In terms of viewership, billions of people all over the world tune in to watch the games on TV. For the 2018 World Cup alone, 3.3 billion watched the games(that’s half of the world’s population).

The next World Cup event will take place in Qatar in 2022 and will definitely see billions of viewers all over the world watching the games.

3. Cricket World Cup – 2.6 Billion Viewers

ICC champions, India

Some people may find it surprising to know how popular the game of cricket is.

However, it is the most popular and most played sport in the Indian subcontinent which has over 1.9 billion people.

Just like the FIFA World Cup, the Cricket World Cup also takes place every four years with ten teams competing for six weeks.

In 2019, the Cricket World Cup hosted by England and Wales set a new record for viewership with over 2.6 billion tuning in to watch the games.

The next game Cricket World Cup will be held in 2023 in India.

4. Summer Olympic Games – 2 Billion Viewers

2016 Olympics Games in Rio

The summer Olympic Games shouldn’t even be a surprise on this list. Held every four years in a different country, the games bring together athletes from all over the world, competing in a single event.

What makes this event interesting is that it features a variety of sports; from running to swimming, to table tennis and wrestling, there’s something for everyone. The athletes competing do their best to showcase their national pride.

Regularly over 2 billion people all over the world tune in to watch, making it one of the most watched sports events in the world.

The last Olympic Games held in Tokyo, Japan was marred by the coronavirus pandemic. The next Olympic Games will be held in Paris in 2024.

5. Winter Olympic Games – 2 Billion Viewers

The Winter Olympics in Beijing

The Winter Olympics is the next on this list of most watched sports events in the world.

Though the Winter Olympics is not as popular as the Summer Olympics, the event also draws a large viewership of over 2 billion viewers.

With many sports disciplines taking place such as Figure Skating, Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, etc the Winter Olympics takes the fourth position of the most watched sports events in the world.

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6. Women’s World Cup – 1.12 Billion Viewers

USA wins Women’s World Cup

The Women’s World Cup is another soccer tournament that is massively growing in popularity.

Following the same format as the men’s soccer World Cup tournament, the event takes place for a month, every four years in a different location.

The last women’s World Cup competition that took place in France attracted a lot of interest in female soccer. The 2019 WWC had a record-breaking audience of over 1 billion viewers.

The next Women’s World Cup will take place in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

7. Boxing – 1 Billion Viewers

Tyson Fury against Deontay Wilder

Boxing is another sport that draws huge viewership all over the world. It may be a dangerous sport but, it still gets over 1 billion views a year.

Boxing may not be as hot as it used to be in the 70s and 80s when there were big-name boxers like Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, and Mike Tyson, but the sports still rake in large pay-per-views when there are big-name bouts.

Today when big-name boxers like Floyd Mayweather and Tyson Fury have bouts, it generates huge audiences all over the world.

8. UEFA Champions League – 380 Million Viewers

Chelsea wins Champions League

Also known as the beautiful game, soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Soccer is played in most countries all over the world and definitely draws millions of viewers.

Every year, there are multiple soccer tournaments take place around the world.

One such tournament is the UEFA Champions League which brings together the best soccer clubs in Europe to compete together.

The UEFA Champions League draws over 380 million viewers all over the world, making it the 8th most watched sports event in the world.

9. Super Bowl – 112 Million Viewers

Super Bowl sunday

Millions of Americans tune on their TVs every year to watch the National Football League Finals also known as the Super Bowl.

Over the years, the Super Bowl has grown so popular that more Americans watch it than they do the presidential debates.

What makes the Super Bowl even more interesting is always the halftime show which features some of the biggest performers as well as some of the most interesting commercials.

For the 2022 Super Bowl, viewership rose to 112 million viewers, making it the 9th most viewed sports event in the world.

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10. NCAA Final Four – 17 Million Viewers

NCAA Final Four

It may be surprising that the college basketball playoff is watched more than the NBA playoffs.

Well, this is due to the buzz generated from March Madness that features 68 college basketball teams from Division 1 level with the top college talent competing.

Every year, this sports event is held in spring in America and gets a viewership of about 17 million people.

11. NBA Finals – 16.5 Million Viewers

NBA Finals

The NBA season lasts for 82 games but the real fun starts with the Playoffs which see 16 teams compete until 2 teams reach the finals.

With star basketball players like LeBron James and Steph Curry usually playing, these games draw massive viewership from basketball fans with celebrities usually sitting courtside to watch.

The NBA Finals drew the largest viewership of 35 million viewers in game 6 during the 1998 finals when Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls played against the Utah Jazz.

Though there’s been a drop over the years, the NBA finals still gets over 16.5 million viewers a year.

12. World Series – 14.35 Million Viewers

World Series

The World Series is another American sporting event that usually draws large viewership from fans be it in the stadium or on TV.

Baseball has always been a favorite American sport and though its popularity has fallen over time, it still gets a lot of interest.

The biggest baseball event is the World Series which takes place every October. The best team from the American League faces the best from the National League to be crowned the champion.

On average, the World Series gets about 14.5 million viewers, making it the 12th most viewed sports event in the world.

13. Rugby World Cup – 12.8 Million Viewers

Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup is the biggest event in the world of rugby. Similar to the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics, the tournament is held every four years in different locations around the world.

Twenty of the best international teams compete in a six-week tournament until ultimately the winner is crowned champion.

Many Rugby fans watch all over the world, leading to a high viewership of about 12 million people.

14. The Masters – 9.45 Million Viewers

The Masters

The Masters is the biggest event in the golfing world. This event brings together the best golfers in the world to compete in Augusta, Georgia.

The event is made up of four rounds and usually takes place for four days. The best pro golfers compete until one eventually gets to don the Green Jacket.

The Masters pulls in large crowds as well as large viewership of about 12 million people who enjoy the sport.

15. Kentucky Derby – 7 Million Viewers

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the premier horse racing event not just in the USA but also in the world.

This event usually takes place in early May in Louisville, Kentucky, and features the best three-year-old thoroughbreds racing around the historic Churchill Downs track.

Kentucky Derby puls in large crowds and large viewership of about 7 million people.


While all these major sporting events pull large crowds and viewership, there are other sports events that though not featured on this list, do get massive viewership.

Wimbledon which is the biggest tennis tournament gets about 2.5 million viewers.

Others worth noting are also the Stanley Cup Finals which is Hockey’s biggest event.

The Boston Marathon, Commonwealth Games, Paralympic Games, Daytona 500, and Stanley Cup are also big sports events that get millions of fans and TV viewers.

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