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Most Attended Sporting Events in History

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Sporting events bring in huge crowds, not just in person but on a global scale from people tuning in on their TVs or online. But some events have brought in crowds of millions or even billions in some cases. From horse racing events that bring in enormous crowds of eager fans to tournaments such as the Olympics, these are some of the most attended sporting events throughout history.

2015 Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular sporting events in the world, not just in the world of horse racing. It’s the place to see and be seen, particularly if you’re lucky enough to get a seat at the famous Millionaire’s Row right by the racetrack. The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday of May each year and is the most prestigious leg of the famous Triple Crown. It brings in as many as 150,000 spectators but millions more watch it around the world too. In 2015, however, it had a record attendance when 170,513 people watched the race. But, the Grand National 2020 could beat these figures.

2015 Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup might be one of the newer competitions on the block, having been founded in 1987, but it’s still attracted huge crowds since it’s first competition. The 2015 competition, however, topped the attendance record, bringing in one billion viewers. Twenty countries took part in the event, ending with New Zealand battling it out against Australia. Rugby may not beat football in terms of popularity, but it seems still attracts vast crowds if the World Cup is anything to go by. 

2018 Tour de France

The Tour de France is a highly anticipated event, even though few people will think of cycling when they think of sporting events. But this 3,351km race, which comprises 21 stages, is more popular than you might realise. In 2018, the viewership of this event exceeded 3.5 billion people. In this particular race, Geraint Thomas from Great Britain crossed the finish line first, securing gold and pleasing fans around the world. 

2018 FIFA World Cup

Football has always been a popular sport and so it will come as no surprise that a football competition is on this list of the top attended sporting events. But even by football’s standards, the FIFA World Cup draws in huge crowds. The highest viewership of this campaign was in 2018 where more than 3 million people were in attendance and over 3.6 billion people watching elsewhere. The World Cup was held in Russia and the final between France and Croatia ended with France by a score of 4-2. 

2008 Beijing Summer Olympics

The Olympics draw in massive crowds and the summer games in Beijing were no exception. It was a highly anticipated event that brought in a massive viewership of 4.7 billion viewers. That’s more than half of the world’s population watching the games – an incredible feat that shows just how important sport is to so many people the world over.