Countdown to the final: Your guide to the Football World Cup action.
Unlike many top-level sports which are dominated by just a few countries, the Football World Cup is a wide-open event. At least 10 nations could win the Cup without causing too much of a stir. And millions of viewers around the world will be eagerly devouring coverage of this year’s tournament.
The Fifa Football World Cup is widely considered to be the biggest international sporting event.
Most countries in the world play “the beautiful game” and most of them strive to reach the big four-yearly event. (New Zealand has qualified just twice – in 1982 and 2010.)
According to global TV viewing figures, the Fifa World Cup has an audience of 3.5 billion people across the entire tournament.
The 2014 final alone, between Germany and Argentina, drew in more than one billion viewers. It is the undisputed champion in the world of TV sports.
The summer Olympic Games are generally considered to be next with an audience of two billion. However, some statisticians claim that the Tour De France reaches out to 2.6 billion viewers around the globe.
Other top contenders include the Uefa Champions League (1.7 billion viewers), the Fifa Confederations Cup (1 billion), the Asian Games (986 million), the Rugby World Cup (789 million) and the Winter Olympics (478 million).
The Cricket World Cup attracts around 400 million viewers overall.
As the global reach of TV expands, it would be little surprise to see this year’s Football World Cup tournament set new viewing figures.