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Does the Super Bowl or the World Cup have more viewers worldwide?

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More people tune into the World Cup Final than the Super Bowl, simply because soccer is a worldwide sport. However, FIFA's claim that more than 1 billion people tune into the World Cup final is exaggerated.

According to a 2007 article in the UK newspaper The Independent, "Fifa's overblown figures, the World Cup finals of 1998, 2002 and 2006 respectively attracted global audiences of 1.3 billion, 1.1 billion and 715.1 million people... According to Initiative Sports Futures, independent analysts with no ties to Fifa, the figure for the 2006 [World Cup] final was 260 million in the 54 key markets it surveyed, accounting for 90 per cent of the world's TV households." (See Related links for full article.)

Even so, at 260 million, the World Cup final had more viewers than the 2006 Super Bowl.

2006 World Cup vs. Super Bowl viewership World Cup Final, Italy v France
Claim: 715.1 million, Estimated: 260 million

Super Bowl Steelers v Seahawks
Claim: 750 million-1 billion, Estimated: 98 million


Additional input from WikiAnswers contributors:
  • In Asia the Super Bowl is hardly watched at all - apart from US expats, whose numbers are dwarfed by European expats. I would say even weekly premier league games quite comfortably garner more viewers than the Super Bowl. In South East Asia alone a Premier League Match will get almost 25 million viewers, not counting North Asia, Middle East, Africa and South America.
  • World Cup, by a large amount. The XXXIX Superbowl had an estimated 94 million viewers. The World Cup averages 1.1 billion viewers per day for the almost month-long event. This year it is estimated that 2.8 billion viewers will watch the World Cup games.
  • You also have to take into consideration that the World Cup comes along every 4 years and every country vies for a spot on the final roster of 32. So every effort is made to provide TV coverage of each game for each country.
  • Something like 1.2 billion will watch the World Cup games. They won't all be all watching at the same time, of course. There will be approximately 100 million or so per game.
  • The above answer's 94 million viewers is solely United States viewers who at one point or another tuned into the game. I must say I don't know how many games are played in the World Cup but the 28.8 billion comes from folks from all over the world tuning in to maybe 4 minutes of the Morocco V. Ivory Coast game one day and the France V. Italy game the next day. The Super Bowl figures are for one game. The World Cup figures are for ALL games in ALL rounds.
  • Actually, even the UEFA Euro Cup final draws a larger audience than the Super Bowl. In 2004 the worldwide audience was 279 million according to UEFA. Although they don't specify whether this is people just tuning in or seeing the entire game. The same page gives the average number of viewers over all the games in the finals as 150 million. It's not unlikely, then, that even some group games in the Euro Cup had more viewers than the Super Bowl. That the final of the World Cup would have more seems rather certain.
  • Oh yes, The world cup is watched by millions and counting T.V it could well be over a billion.
Thanks for the feedback!

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