The FIFA World Cup, kicking off in Moscow on Thursday, is one of the biggest sporting spectacles in the world. Every four years, soccer fans from all around the world rejoice in the thought of an action-packed month of competition culminating in the World Cup final, arguably the biggest game on earth. While the Super Bowl, the biggest game from an American perspective, is viewed by more than a hundred million people in the U.S. plus maybe another 100 across the globe, the 2014 World Cup final between Argentina and Germany had an average in-home TV audience of more than 560 million people.
So we’ve established that the FIFA World Cup is huge, but is it really the biggest sporting event of all in terms of television reach? The answer is a very close no. According to the IOC, the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing reached 3.6 and 3.5 billion people in their homes, respectively, edging out the last two World Cups which each attracted 3.2 billion viewers globally.
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