How many people watch a World Cup final? Record global audience set to tune in for 2022 via TV and streaming

Kylian Mbappe of France with the World Cup trophy

The World Cup Final is a sporting event like no other in terms of its ability to attract large international audiences from around the world.

Football’s popularity around the world means the final showdown is always a big event, with fans on every continent tuning in to see the game.

The reach of Europe’s major domestic leagues, most notably the English Premier League, has only deepened football’s role in everyday life, and the 2022 World Cup final could break new ground.

As thousands of fans travel to Qatar for the final, millions more will watch the game from their homes as the kings of football are crowned.

MORE: When is the World Cup final? TV program, channel, live stream, kickoff

How many people watch a World Cup final?

Viewership for World Cup matches, including the final, has risen steadily since 2010 after a slight drop at the 2006 World Cup.

According to official data from FIFA, an estimated 3.575 billion people watched the 2018 World Cup matches, of which 1.12 billion watched France’s final win over Croatia in Moscow.

Kylian Mbappe of France with the World Cup trophy

That split between traditional television viewership of 3.262 billion (2018) and 309.7 million (2018) viewed via public domestic media and digital-first streaming options.

Early data from FIFA on the 2022 World Cup points to more growth, with records broken for the group stage and round of 16, with almost all nations involved seeing their internal viewership rise since 2018.

World Cup Final vs Super Bowl, Champions League Final

The true power of the World Cup final as a televised spectacle is potentially revealed against the other major televised sporting events on the calendar.

The 2018 World Cup Final’s FIFA attendance of over a billion viewers nearly ninefold surpassed the NFL Super Bowl.

Data from Nielsen Media Research shows that 91.6 million US-based viewers watched the 2021 Super Bowl between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, with an estimated 140 million worldwide viewership.

Compared to the UEFA Champions League final, widely regarded as the greatest game in club football, the World Cup wins by another huge margin.

Data from Statista shows global viewership for the five Champions League finals from 2016 to 2021, which featured superpowers from Spain, Italy, England, Germany and France, averaging 76.1 million with a peak of 105.8 million in 2017/18.

Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema

World Cup final viewership in history

If the 2022 finale continues its expected surge in viewership, a global total of 1.5 billion by December 18 doesn’t seem unrealistic.

The figure of 1.12 billion for 2018 was higher than the total of 1.01 billion in 2014, which broke the 1 billion mark for the first time since FIFA began tracking it.

The final of the 2006 tournament saw a decrease, but only based on individual national figures, with the 2010 final in South Africa being watched by 909 million viewers.

Dave Gallo

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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