How Does the World Cup's Viewership, Tickets and Attendance Compare to NFL's Super Bowl?


The world’s biggest sporting event is soon coming to a screen near you.

When the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Nov. 20, it’s predicted to garner billions of viewers all over the globe, with millions of fans also watching the action live.

Not only that, but the 2022 World Cup is expected to be the most-watched tournament in its history, according to FIFA president Gianni Infantino. 

Here’s How the World Cup Stacks Up to Other Major TV Events

The 2022 World Cup is expected to pull in 5 billion viewers according to FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Very few events can even come close in terms of viewership, attendance and pricing.

Note: Each point represents roughly 2,178,649 viewers
Source: NBC Analysis
Credit: Andrew Williams / NBC

The quadrennial tournament tends to draw comparisons to the National Football League’s Super Bowl that crowns that season’s champion, so let’s take a look to see how American football’s biggest event stacks up to world football’s most prominent by analyzing viewership, ticket and attendance data:

How does viewership compare in the World Cup vs. Super Bowl?

Considering the Super Bowl is just one event and the World Cup has numerous games over the course of the tournament, the viewership data favors the latter. In the 2022 tournament in Qatar, the viewership is predicted to be five billion across the world, making that an average of 227.27 million per day.

Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals accumulated an estimated 208 million in the U.S., roughly two-thirds of the population, according to the NFL.

How does ticket data compare in the World Cup vs. Super Bowl?

Tickets to Super Bowl LVI in SoFi Stadium ranged from $6,800 for the lowest price on Ticketmaster to up to $81,800 for VIP seats. 

To attend a World Cup game in Qatar could cost you somewhere between $11 to $1,067, with the final on Dec. 18 likely raising the numbers.

How does attendance data compare in the World Cup vs. Super Bowl?

SoFi Stadium’s capacity is over 70,000, which adds up to the sold-out Super Bowl LVI attendance of 70,240.

Qatar is expected to have 3 million fans across the world come into the country to attend live matches, which is just shy of the 3.1 million fans in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

What sporting event in the U.S. compares to the Super Bowl?

With the Super Bowl being the only U.S.-based sporting event that can reasonably line up toe-to-toe with the World Cup, the second-highest finale that can compare is the NBA Finals. However, it’s not that close.

The 2022 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics drew an average viewership on ABC of 12.4 million viewers, which is about 74.4 million across the six games played. Attendance across the 87 games played in the 2022 playoffs hit just over 1.65 million.

What sporting event globally compares to the World Cup?

Besides previous World Cups, two sporting events around the globe come close to the quadrennial tournament’s numbers. One is the annual Tour de France, which drew 3.5 billion viewers in 190 countries during the 21 days of bicycling. 

The other is also a quadrennial event: the Summer Olympics. Broadcast by NBC, the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro drew 3.6 billion viewers across 17 days while the 2020 Games in Tokyo, which was hosted in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, garnered 3.05 billion, also in a 17-day span.

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