Watching live sport is one of the most popular pastimes for people around the world. Depending on the region, different sports are popular. Nonetheless, some are universally well loved.
The unpredictability and quality of live sport is its major selling point, as well as rooting for your favorite player or team.
Below, you’ll find the top 5 most watched sports in the world.
Soccer easily tops the list as the world’s most watched sport. In fact, the only nations where it isn’t Australia, the USA, India, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, and New Zealand. When the game is called soccer, there is another more popular variant of football in the respective country. For example, in the USA, American football is preferred, whilst in Australia, Aussie rules are the game of choice.
In addition to being the most watched sport, soccer is also the most wagered on too. Thankfully, finding top betting sites is easy today because online platforms put them all in one place and provide unbiased in-depth reviews of each operator. Moreover, each bookmaker is rated by users on the site, and you’re even able to compare all the latest bonuses to help you choose the best operator that suits your betting needs.
The most viewed domestic soccer tournament is the English Premier League. According to Reuters, the English Premier League broadcasts to more than 800 million homes, in over 188 countries.
The largest tournament in soccer is the FIFA World Cup, whereby the final is always the most watched sporting event of the year, disregarding the Olympic Games. On average the past three finals have had upwards of 3 billion viewers and continue to grow every tournament.
The umbrella term, motorsport, covers any sport that races with vehicles. The most popular – Formula 1 is widely watched around the world, with the average race getting 70.3 million views. The grand finale of the 2021 FIA Season where Verstappen won the World Championship had a viewership of an eye-watering 128 million.
Other motorsports that are popular include Indy, Le Mans, NASCAR, and MotoGP. Fans of the respective disciplines are often referred to as “petrol heads” and travel the world following their favorite drivers.
American football is the most watched sport in the USA and when it comes to the Superbowl, it’s one of the most viewed events in the world.
The 2022 Super Bowl between the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals had an audience of just over 200 million, with a quarter of that number coming from outside the USA.
American football continues to grow in the world, becoming increasingly popular in the UK and other Anglo nations like Canada. The NFL has even started a program to promote the sport in Europe.
Big fighting bouts always attract a massive audience and are often on pay-per-view (PPV). Fighters only get in the ring a few times a year, but millions around the world tune in.
The most watched boxing event of all time was Floyd Mayweather V Manny Pacquiao, which achieved 4.6m PPV purchases. Mayweather dominates the all-time PPV leaderboard, as second place was his bout against Conor McGregor, which saw 4.3m PPV buys. In third, Floyd’s fight against Canelo sold 2.2m PPV buys. Estimating the total viewership is difficult as many of these buys are from bars or where there will be multiple viewers at once.
For UFC, the figures are slightly lower, but at the same time impressive. The number one best-selling PPV was McGregor V Khabib, which was purchased 2.4m times.
Tennis is a popular sport to play and watch played by individuals around the world. It’s especially watched in Europe and North America.
The biggest event of the year is the Wimbledon final, which saw an estimated 53.8m people tune in to watch Djokovic beat Kyrgios. It’s the highest number it has ever been, as tennis continues to grow in popularity across the globe.
The second most viewed event of the year in tennis was the US Open, with many tuning in to watch Serena Williams’ final match. In total, the viewership peaked at 6.3 million on ESPN. The previous year, when Emma Raducanu lifted the US Open trophy, the match attracted 9.3m viewers.