15 Most Watched Sports Event in the World

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Most watched sports events can vary based on the country you are living in. For the United States, it could be NFL Super Bowl while in India most popular sporting event could be T20 World Cup. 

Do you think NBA finals even make it to the top 15 list of most-watched sports events in the world? Well, that is something you will know after reading this article. 

Sports events are essential for athletes who work all their lives to prove themselves in these events and make their nation proud.

Kentucky Derby had 16.0 million viewers in 2022
Kentucky Derby had 16.0 million viewers in 2022. (Image Source: Sporting News)

Sports events are for the athletes, but without viewers, it won’t be possible. Moreover, people watch these tournaments and games on television to relax and have fun. Each sport has its fans and followers.

So, based on these principles, we have ranked the top 15 major sports events in the World.

15 Most Watched Sports Event in the World

All sports are beautiful in their own way, and it is only up to the people’s taste and preferences what they like to watch and don’t. Therefore, this article ranks the sports based on the number of views and attention it gets in the media.

Let me know in the comments if your favorite sports have made it to the list or not.

Rank Sports Viewers
1 Tour de France  3.5 Billion
2 Soccer World Cup 3.3 Billion
3 Cricket World Cup 2.6 Billion
4 Summer Games 2 Billion
5 Winter Games 2 Billion
6 Women’s World Cup  1.12 Billion
7 Boxing 1 Billion
8 UEFA Champions League 380 Million
9 Super Bowl 96.4 Million
10 NCAA Final Four 16.9 Million
11 NBA Finals 16.54 Million
12 Kentucky Derby 14.5 Million
13 World Series 14.35 Million
14 World Cup of Rugby 12.8 Million
15 The Masters 9.45 Million

15. The Masters

Widely admitted as one of the most prestigious tournaments in the sport, the Masters takes place every year during the spring season in Augusta, Georgia.

Moreover, this sport attracts the best golfers from all over the World. Here, golfers compete against each other to build a legacy for themselves. But did you know that Masters always boast big and famous names followed by an immense crowd?

To clarify, the golfers play four rounds over four days. In the end, the top remaining pros battle against each other to become a Masters Champion and don the green jacket.

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14. World Cup of Rugby

Considered as among the roughest of sports, Rugby is often considered a dangerous sport. However, fans from all over the world still love the sport.

Similarly, the World Cup of Rugby is the biggest tournament of the sport. It has teams from all over the world, including Australia, France, England, Wales, and Japan. The game is also famous by the name The gentleman’s game. It gets around 12.8 million viewers.

The Rugby World Cup is violent and often bloody, but not to get fooled by its nickname (gentleman’s game). 

Like Soccer World Cup, Rugby World Cup also occurs every four years. The World Cup features a battle for worldwide supremacy on who is the best.

13. Kentucky Derby

Dubbed as the fastest 2 minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby is the most famous horse race in the United States and across the World. It is the biggest and the wildest one too. 

Kentucky Derby 2009
Kentucky Derby 2009. (Source: Wikimedia)

Even though the weekend matches are filled with plenty of views and races, the Grand finale is the one that gets the most. It features the best-thorough bred horses racing one and one-quarter miles around the historic Churchill Downs track.

Like in the movies, peoples flock from all over the World to bet millions on this sport.

12. NBA Finals

NBA finals make the list of one of the most-watched sports events in the World. This fact became more accurate after people wanted to see one of the greatest players of all time,
LeBron James.

LeBron James has played in the last seven finals of the competition. The NBA finals attract over 16.54 million viewers.

The NBA Finals is considered a big deal. The Finals consist of incredible NBA teams, athletes, and celebrities from all over. No wonder why so many people go crazy to watch the match live in the stadium or on TV.

11. NCAA Final Four

Before becoming a star and debuting in the NBA, young basketball players must sharpen their skills. So these future-star athletes train themselves to become among the best in college.

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Similarly, that’s where the NCAA Final Four comes. The NCAA Final Four not only showcases the top college talents but also prepares them for the NBA.

With that said, each year, the semi-finals and the finals are hosted in America’s most outstanding basketball cities. Fans go crazy to watch this match. The tickets and seats get sold out weeks before. 

10. World Series

The World Series is a baseball game that gets high numbers of viewers every year.
However, the 2016 World Series clash between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs made it the most-watched sporting event.

Moreover, the 162 games between the Spring, the Summer, and the Fall led to a memorable October postseason.

It is a culmination of national pride in seven games. This particular event is considered America’s favorite fall season series since it is always conducted during the fall season (October). 

9. Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the biggest championship game of the National Football League (NFL), which is held annually. It has served as the final game of every National Football League season since 1966.

Not to forget, the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI was the most-watched big game in the history of the NFL. Also, the match drew around 111.5 million viewers.

The Super Bowl has recognized the pinnacle of American sporting events. This event is held in different big cities around the United States every February.

However, due to excessive attention being given to halftime shows and commercials, the Super Bowl has lost some of its attraction in the last few years. Similarly, the Super Bowl LIV was the tenth most watched Super Bowl, grossing 102 million views.

8. UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League is Europe’s most exciting football club tournament. Besides the FIFA World Cup and Euro Cup, UEFA Champions League is the most-watched international football sporting event. It has an average viewer of 380 million.

UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League (Source: Twitter)

Above all, legendary football stars like Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been driving factors in recent years.

Similarly, international football (soccer) is the most popular sport around the World, so it comes as no surprise that another soccer tournament has managed to find its way on this list.

7. Boxing

Ranked seventh on the most-watched sports event in the World, Boxing is one of the most dangerous sports. The sport has around 1 billion views.

With that said, most of us probably might not be hearing a lot about the sport on a day-to-day basis compared to other sports on the list, but when a significant match is announced, it draws millions of attention from all around the globe.

That is to say, pay-per-view buys measure viewership. Meaning, the bigger the name, the bigger the views.

Similarly, Muhammad Ali‘s fights used to receive massive attention. As a result, some of his matches turned out to become some of the most-watched sports events of all time, views reaching billions.

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6. Women’s World Cup 

Men’s soccer World Cup is undoubtedly a thing, but did you know that Women’s soccer is also getting attention just like mens’ soccer?

Day by day, Women’s soccer is becoming more and more popular ever since the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France that got tons of attention. Moreover, the Women’s World Cup follows a similar format used by the men’s World Cup. 

Seeing the USA team compete against other countries indeed draws a lot of American attention. Moreover, the 2019 World Cup smashed previous records, with an astonishing 1.12 billion views

5. Winter Games

Although the Winter Games does not attract as much attention as the Summer Games, it is the fifth most-watched sports event in the world.

2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony.
2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony. (Source: Wikipedia)

Moreover, the Winter Games are still popular enough to pull in views reaching 2 billion. Similarly, the game includes popular sports like figure skating, alpine skiing, ice hockey, and snowboarding. 

It is a 17-day event that is organized every four years. With that said, the next Winter Games will take place in Beijing, China, in 2022. The first country to host both the Winter and Summer Games in the same year.

4. Summer Games

With viewers count reaching 2 billion, Summer Games is undoubtedly one of the most-watched sports events in the World. This event features a variety of different sports along with the best athletes from all over the World.

The viewer gets to witness incredible sporting triumphs, stories, and record-breaking performances, not to mention one’s national pride and glory.

With people worldwide cheering for their home country, it is no wonder the event attracts views in billions.

3. Cricket World Cup

You might be surprised to find cricket on the list, but yes. Across the North American continent, the sport is a big thing. Else, it wouldn’t have landed on the 3rd spot for being one of the most-watched sports event in the World.

The tournament features ten teams, with matches lasting just over six weeks. This tournament takes place every four years, just like soccer.

Moreover, the 2019 Cricket World Cup set a record for 2.6 billion viewers worldwide.

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2. Soccer World Cup

Most of us might have already guessed this one to be on the top spot. Yes, your guess was correct. Coming on to the 2nd spot with 3.3 billion views, Soccer World Cup is the second most-watched sporting event in the World.

To clarify, it is a 32-team tournament that features national soccer teams from all over the world competing against each other until one ultimate team is crowned the champion, taking home the golden trophy for the next four years.

Besides, the World Cup boasts its huge attention and viewership numbers every year. Similarly, the 1950 Final game holds the record for attendance at a sporting event in a stadium with an astonishing 199,854 spectators to see the game.

1. Tour de France 

You might be shocked to see a cycling tournament on the number one spot for being the most-watched sporting event in the World. But, surprising as it seems, it gets a great viewership of around 3.5 billion.

The event takes place each summer in France. Therefore, it is considered one of the most prestigious competitions in cycling sport.

Tour de Frace.
Tour de Frace. (Source: Pixabay)

Likewise, it is also one of the most difficult ones. With cyclists from all over the world competing against each other over a course that winds through the country’s most challenging terrains and mountain roads, it isn’t an easy tournament.

Similarly, the race consists of 21 stages with approximately 2,200 miles in length, which is raced over the span of 23 days. The Competitors race on an 8-person team, working together to achieve the fastest time record.


Some of the above-mentioned events might have surprised some of us. But, as surprising as it seems, the numbers describe it all.

Moreover, some of the sporting events mentioned above are soon to be hosted in the near future. So, have you decided about attending one or two?

Hope you enjoyed our listing; stay tuned to get more articles like these. 

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Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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