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Five sports we love to watch on TV

We are a nation of sports lovers and have been since records began. Football, horse racing and tennis are just some of the sports we love to follow with family and friends. Some of the greatest childhood memories include gathering around a TV set to view notable sporting achievements such as England’s World Cup win in 1966, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank’s blood-soaked boxing battles and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win for the ages.

Times are changing, and the way we view sports is also adapting. Advancements in technology mean radio and TV are no longer the only options. You can now follow the most popular events on your smartphone by downloading an app. This takes just a few seconds and means you’ll never again be forced to miss an event. Never again will you suffer the pain of missing out on a sports spectacular such as the Superbowl, World Cup or Grand National because of work commitments or any other reason.

Despite these changes in technology altering the way many of us follow sports fixtures, the latest figures show TV remains king. The population still rely on their television to keep them up to speed with the latest scores. In this article, we look back at the five most-watched sports events in history.

World Cup

"World Cup" by FIFA is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Football - or soccer to some - is the most popular sport in the world today and by a considerable distance. Fans of other sports such as American Football and horse racing can argue their corner, but the numbers don’t lie. The FIFA World Cup is played every four years, and each edition pulls in millions of viewers. The numbers continue to grow at an astounding rate. The latest research shows the World Cup has an audience reach in excess of 3.5 billion. That’s every tournament. In the 2014 final between Germany and Argentina, more than 1 billion viewers tuned in.

Tour de France

This may be a surprising entry, but the Tour de France cycle race is incredibly popular in Europe and pulls in incredible viewing figures every year. The event takes place every summer, and despite often being up against the likes of the World Cup, Wimbledon and the summer Olympic Games, it continues to hold its own. Cycling and, in particular, the Tour de France has come in for some bad press surrounding high-profile drug cheats in recent years, but the support of fans hasn’t budged. The Tour has an average audience reach of over 2.5 billion. The Tour de France lays claim to being the best-attended sporting event on the planet, with spectators turning out in their thousands every day.

Olympic Games

The summer Olympics takes place every four years and continues to attract an audience in the billions. The opening ceremony of many Olympic Games rank amongst the most-watched events on television, and the numbers continue to grow. Will the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games keep up that trend? It’s expected to do just that. The Olympics has an average viewing figure of 2 billion, with London 2012 ranking as one of the most popular renewals ever seen. Of the summer Olympics, the 100m final attracts the highest viewing figures around the world.

Champions League

"Champions League" by Getty is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Another one for football fans, and it’s little wonder the sport is labelled the beautiful game. Viewing figures of the top competitions show we really do live on planet football. The English Premier League rates as the most-watched soccer competition, but the annual UEFA Champions League pulls in staggering figures. The final match of the Champions League, which pairs the best two teams in Europe every season, attracts an average viewing figure of 1.7 billion. The top players, including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, play their football in Europe and are regulars in the Champions League.

Rugby World Cup

Soccer dominates the next few places of the top-10 most-watched sports on TV but to add a little variety to this top five article; we drop to the Rugby World Cup. This event is staged every four years and is often a battle between the best teams from the northern hemisphere teams. This includes England, France and Wales. They do battle against the cream of the crop from the southern hemisphere, including Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The Rugby World Cup has average viewing figures of 790 million.


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