Top 10 Biggest Sporting Events
Sports are not just a form of competition. To many, they serve as entertainment. Fans of many sports attend events or watch on television to cheer on their favorite players and teams. Well, what happens when sports are played on the biggest stage? Read more to find out about the 10 biggest sporting events.
What Are the Biggest Sporting Events in the World?
- FIFA World Cup
- Summer Olympics
- Tour de France
- Super Bowl
- The Grand National
- Masters Tournament
- Polo at Palermo
- Kentucky Derby
- NBA Finals
1. FIFA World Cup
- Viewership: 3.9 billion
- Attendance: 2.45 million
- Ticket Price: $10-$1,600
The World Cup is an international soccer tournament composed of men’s national teams who happen to be members of the host organization: the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). This sporting event is soccer on the biggest stage. Every four years, everyone worldwide stops what they’re doing to cheer on their country and see who will win it all.
There is a great sense of pride among many when the World Cup circulates. In terms of viewership, the World Cup garners 3.9 billion views. With the most recent World Cup in Qatar, ticket prices varied anywhere from $11 in group play to $1,604.39 for a ticket to the final. This past World Cup in 2022, 2.45 million spectators were recorded as watching a World Cup match in the stadium.
2. Summer Olympics
- Viewership: 2 billion
- Attendance: 6.2 million
- Ticket Price: $18-$71
The Olympics are an international, multi-sport event that brings athletes worldwide to compete in hopes of bringing home: a gold, silver, or bronze medal. With over 200 countries participating in more than 400 events split between the Summer and Winter seasons, the Olympics are as big an event as the World Cup.
The Olympics are a chance for the best to showcase their athletic talents on the biggest stage possible. In terms of viewership, 2 billion people tune in every four years to watch the best athletes worldwide duke it out for the gold. The most recent Olympics in 2020 saw ticket prices ranging from $18 at the opening ceremony to around $71 for individual events. Prior to the 2020 Summer Olympics, 2016’s counterpart garnered 6.2 million spectators.
3. Tour de France
- Viewership: 3.5 billion
- Attendance: 15 million
- Ticket Price: €475-€1,125 ($520-$1,230 USD)
Tour de France is a highly renowned cycling event that takes place annually. This sporting event is what the World Cup is to soccer. The Tour de France carries great significance in the sporting world. With a long history dating back to 1903, the reputation it has built only grew with time. With the race exceeding 2,000 miles and 21 stages, the Tour de France proves itself to be a difficult event.
In terms of viewership, 3.5 billion across the world watch the intense cycling event yearly. Ticket prices for the Tour de France vary. For this upcoming year, the lowest package starts at €475, with the highest sitting at €1,125. For in-person attendance, 15 million spectators across the world are known to watch the 21-stage race.
4. Super Bowl
- Viewership: 240 million
- Attendance: 68,000
- Ticket Price: $6,000-$28,000
The Super Bowl, like the World Cup, is the final championship game of the National Football League (NFL). Just like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Super Bowl is hosted annually, with the only difference being its location changing from city to city.
Over the years, however, the attention toward the Super Bowl has shifted. Its original purpose to serve as a way to watch the championship game of the NFL has been altered. Asides from the unpredictable nature the game has to offer, there is just as much excitement anticipating the many ads that appear during the commercial breaks. Every year, 240 million people tune in to watch the renowned football game. For the 2023 Super Bowl, the lowest ticket price started at $6,000, with the highest being around $28,000. The 2023 Super Bowl in Arizona had an in-person attendance of around 68,000 fans.
5. The Grand National
- Viewership: 600 million
- Attendance: 150,000
- Ticket Price: €50 ($55 USD)
The Grand National is an annual sporting event where 40 horses race against each other by jumping over 30 fences. Held in England and Ireland, this race against horses has garnered much attention over the years. Like the Super Bowl and 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Grand National is held annually.
When it comes to annual viewership, 600 million tune in to watch the many different horses duke it out in hopes of seeing their pick win it all. The ticket prices for the Grand National vary depending on the seats and amenities one chooses. One of the types of seating called the “West Tip” starts at €50 and offers seating closer to the home straight and final fences. Typically, the Grand National has an in-person attendance of around 150,000 fans.
6. Masters Tournament
- Viewership: 13 million
- Attendance: 35,000-40,000
- Ticket Price: $140
The Masters Tournament is an annual golf tournament held at a single location, the Augusta National Golf Club. Like many of the other sports on this list, the Masters and its yearly appearance build up a lot of that excitement that sports are known for. A lot of sports tournaments see different teams or players compete every year, but the Masters adds a unique layer to the realm of sporting events.
Every year, the winner of the Masters has an invitation to come back in early April and compete for the rest of their life in the heralded golf tournament. On average, the Masters Tournament averages 13 million viewers. For a typical tournament day, ticket prices are $140. In terms of in-person attendance, the Masters typically pulls in anywhere from 35,000-40,000 spectators through a four-day timeline.
7. Polo at Palermo
- Viewership: Not available
- Attendance: 30,000
- Ticket Price: $75
Polo at Palermo, formally known as the Argentine Open Polo Championship is an annual polo championship that takes place in Palermo, Buenos Aires at the club level. Like the Masters, the Open Polo Championship in Argentina is held at a single venue: Palermo. Polo has made the list because of its prevalence in Argentina and the pride its people take in the sport.
The only team in the event to have won and not been Argentine was the Americans in 1932. Although there aren’t numbers on the viewership of the Polo Championship, it is heavily renowned among the nation of Argentina. To see the Open Polo Tournament in Argentina, there’s a package that is $75 USD offering hotel service and a bilingual manual. Polo at Palermo’s in-person attendance typically hovers at 30,000 spectators.
- Viewership: 81.1 million
- Attendance: 500,000
- Ticket Price: $1,295-$2,795
Wimbledon is one of the four major annual tennis tournaments, and it has been hosted since 1877. Even with the other three tournaments to grace the sport of tennis, there’s something special about Wimbledon that makes it unique. Wimbledon is the only major tournament out of the four to still play on grass.
Across multiple platforms, Wimbledon has garnered quite the traction. Recent data in 2019 showed the total viewership of Wimbledon to be at 81.1 million viewers worldwide. Every year, Wimbledon is an attraction for tennis fans that goes beyond the sport. In terms of ticket prices, packages for the entire tournament start at $1,295, with the highest being sold at $2,795. Over the two-week span, the in-person attendance of Wimbledon exceeds 500,000 spectators.
9. Kentucky Derby
- Viewership: 16 million
- Attendance: 50,000
- Ticket Price: $87
The Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race that features 20 three-year-old horses competing against each other in what is the most elite of American horse racing. The Derby isn’t just known for the horses. There is more to the Derby that keeps fans coming back for more, such as the race’s rich traditions, costumes, and parties.
Over the years, the Derby has gained popularity in the sense that dressing elegantly and sports bets have graced the landscape. The average viewership of the Derby is 16 million. A general admission ticket on the day of the event costs $87. The Kentucky Derby regularly draws over 50,000 in-person attendance.
10. The NBA Finals
- Viewership: 12-20 million
- Attendance: 11,000
- Ticket Price: $700-$25,000
The NBA Finals is the championship of the National Basketball Association (NBA) season. One team from both the Eastern and Western Conference face off against each other in a best-to-seven series. Following an 82-game season full of exciting plays and records, the NBA Finals is the end of the ladder to see which team will win it all.
In 2022, the average viewership of the Finals was 12.4 million viewers with the highest being 20.4 million in 2017. When it comes to ticket prices to see the NBA Finals, they start at $696, going all the way up to around $25,000. The Phoenix Suns, a team in the Finals during the 2020-21 season had an in-person attendance of 11,824 during the first game of the series.
- 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Boston Marathon
- College Football BCS National Championship Game
- Cricket World Cup
- Daytona 500
- March Madness
- The Open Championship (England and Scotland)
- Ryder Cup
- UEFA Champions League Final
- World Series
What are the biggest sporting events in the world?
The biggest sporting event in the world is the World Cup. Other big sporting events include Wimbledon, the Olympics, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
What are the biggest sporting events in the U.S.?
The biggest sporting events in the U.S. are the Super Bowl, the Masters, the Kentucky Derby, and the NBA Finals.