FIFA president Gianni Infantino has predicted this year’s FIFA World Cup will reach its biggest audience ever.
In 2018, the tournament reached a global audience of 3.5 billion viewers. Infantino is predicting the event later this year will be seen by a global audience of 5 billion.
1.12 billion tuned in for the 2018 final between France and Croatia, 884.37 million of whom watched via linear TV coverage and a further 231.82 million out-of-home and digital-only.
In the UK, the BBC reported a record breaking audience for its digital coverage of the event, recording 66.8 million total match requests.
Across linear, the BBC reached 44.5 million viewers.
An average of 24.3 million UK viewers, an 81 per cent audience share, watched the England v Croatia match on ITV, marking a record high at the time for a football match on a single channel. The Three Lions’ 2-1 defeat drew in a peak viewership of 26.6 million, while ITV said it also broke a new record for online viewership, with 4.3 million simulcast requests for the match on ITV Hub.
France’s 1-0 victory over Belgium attracted 22.3 million viewers on TF1, making it the most-watched event of the year in France and at the time, the country’s eighth most-watched of all time.
Belgian broadcasters also set new ratings records, with nearly 2.5 million watching the match on Flemish network VRT and a further 1.65 million on French-language network La Une.
Meanwhile, 19.23 million German fans watched the England v Croatia match on public broadcaster ZDF and in Spain, Telecinco’s broadcast of the match drew a 53 per cent audience share.
Broadcasters are already preparing for the 2022 tournament, which takes place in Qatar from 21st November to 18th December.