If you had to guess what the most watched sporting event in the history of the world was, you’d probably say the Super Bowl. After all, even anticipating what ads will air (link to most expensive ads) has been a major spectator sport each year.
Yet if we’re looking at the pure numbers, the event that has drawn in the biggest audience around the world has far and away been the FIFA World Cup. Maybe that makes sense since it’s still “football” — what the rest of the world calls soccer.
The FIFA World Cup has had more than 3.5 billion viewers, but it has been taking place since before television was even invented. The number of people who have seen the cup live would send those numbers higher.
Here are a few fun facts about the FIFA World Cup:
The 2006 Cup Was the Most Watched
The 2006 FIFA World Cup was between France and Italy, and 638 million people watched it on television.
The Cup took place in Germany, and it is best remembered for one of the most famous headbutts of all time.
The second most watched game was the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, which had 25.4 million viewers.
It Is Most Popular in Europe
The countries that watch the FIFA World Cup the most are Germany and those in the United Kingdom.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Super Bowl trumps the FIFA World Cup as the most watched sporting event in the United States.
It Is More Than a Century Old
The first FIFA World Cup took place before it even had that name. The Thomas Lipton Trophy Tournament is known as the first world cup, and it took place in 1909.
The first official World Cup would not take place until 1930, after several world championships took place at the Olympics.
With such a long history, there is much more to learn about the FIFA World Cup. If you are a football (or soccer) fan, it is worth checking into the Cup and learning more.