Debate will forever rage as to which event can be considered the biggest spectacle in sport. Personal preference has to be taken into account when it comes to such discussions, with the grandest of occasions not to everybody’s taste.
The Tour de France is, for instance, the most-watched competition on the sporting calendar, but cycling through the Alps could be considered a little niche for some. The Olympic Games is another winner when it comes to television and streaming audiences, but many spectators there would happily admit that they are no aficionados of badminton, equestrian or sprinting.
That starts to narrow things down to prestige events from the two forms of football. Soccer is dominating the global scene again at present, with World Cup betting odds expecting the likes of +300 favorites Brazil, +650 England and +600 defending champions France to go well in Qatar.
With so many superstars on show – including the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar – plenty of eyes will be locked on events in the Middle East across various platforms and screen sizes.
The same is true for NFL action, with the race to Super Bowl LVII very much on. Interest in football will continue to build down a path to State Farm Stadium in Arizona, with the greatest show on US turf set to be staged on February 12, 2023.
Some two months prior to that, a famous World Cup trophy will be handed out to one triumphant nation in Lusail. The expectation is that large numbers of spectators will catch at least a few minutes of soccer’s global showpiece, with over 1.1 billion having tuned in back in 2018 as France’s victory over Croatia averaged a worldwide audience of 517 million.
Those numbers blow the Super Bowl out of the water. When it comes to football, viewing figures tend to tick over at just under 100 million in the United States, while a further 30-50 million catch the action from elsewhere.
There are now more ways than ever of watching the best in the business strut their stuff, with services popping up that ensure interested observers never miss a beat regardless of where they are on the planet or what they are doing. Soccer and football have bought into that revolution as much as any other business.
Comparisons between the two have, however, never really been a fair fight.
They all hosted a World Cup Final but which of these stadiums would you most like to visit?
While the NFL continues to expand its reach, it remains very much an American enterprise. Soccer, on the other hand, is a game with universal appeal and sees 32 nations compete on a World Cup stage – with that number set to increase to 48 in 2026.
It is always going to garner greater interest as a result and should not be considered any more appealing than alternative offerings. It must also be noted that the Super Bowl is watched by around one in three of all Americans, while the World Cup cannot claim to enjoy such a sizable slice of a global pie. Followers of both will continue to talk up the merits of their favored event, but said battle remains one without a true winner.