Sporting events capture the imagination of the public like no other occasion. The live element of the action draws people to televisions in their millions. In the days of online streaming when viewers are in control of where and when they wish to watch – sport is alone in controlling their audience.
Some events are more successful than others, and depending where you are in the world, one game or an event may hold special significance over another. However, some transcend borders and taste, and we’ll now look at two sporting events that capture the attention of the globe.
What started as a signature event in the United States has spread across the globe. Over 100 million people watch the Super Bowl in the USA along with a further 60 million from the rest of the world, although there has been a slight dip under the 100m-mark over the last two years. There is often drama aplenty in the contest between the best two sides in the NFL, who battle it out over the course of four quarters for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The Kansas City Chiefs along with Patrick Mahomes went on to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in a dramatic comeback in the Super Bowl LIV. Expect to see the Chiefs on course for another appearance in the Super Bowl, being backed in the betting odds at 7/2 to win the event for the second year in a row, and network executives will be praying to see Mahomes in the showcase event once again. A potential game between Mahomes’ Chiefs and Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be a mouth-watering prospect.
It could push the viewing figures beyond the record average of the 114m that watched Brady and the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in February 2015. That contest was the highest television audience in the history of American television, but it could be broken in the 2020 campaign.
World Cup Final
The World Cup final dwarfs the audience gained by the Super Bowl due to the global appeal of the game. Over 1 billion people watched the 2018 World Cup final when France defeated Croatia, maintaining the average from the 2014 and the 2010 events. Debate rages whether the event broke the record set by the 2014 final.
The teams playing in the event does have a large bearing on the number of eyeballs fixed on the screen. Germany against Argentina does command a larger audience for a global appeal of two continents compared to the two European teams in the form of France and Croatia. The world’s best player Lionel Messi was also involved in the 2014 final. He alone would draw a commanding audience – even if he were just on a field playing by himself.
The appeal of football is only expanding – which is why television companies continue to pay extraordinary amounts of money to broadcast the leading teams in the world. The next World Cup will be played in Qatar in the winter in the northern hemisphere. That could well push up viewing figures across the world as people will more likely be at home rather than in beer gardens and other large venues due to the colder weather. It would be no surprise to see the record of the reported 1.12b that watched the 2018 final and perhaps even beyond the 1.2b.
The world’s viewing habits will continue to adapt due to the changes in technology and how we consume media. However, sports remain untouched and could be poised to break new records in the coming years.