World Cup Vs Super Bowl By The Numbers: Viewers, Revenue, Ratings

In 2022 the USMNT’s group stage game vs. England had a record U.S. viewership of 19.9 million people tuning in across English and Spanish broadcasts. Although the NFL and the Super Bowl continue to hold the top ratings spot in the U.S., overall World Cup viewership dwarfs that of American football.

During the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar, a record 1.5 billion tuned in to see Lionel Messi’s Argentina knock off defending world champion France. 

Embed from Getty Images

By comparison, the most-watched Super Bowl was the 2023 matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. The NFL reported that the broadcast reached 200 million viewers in the U.S. and 56 million people outside the U.S. tuned in as well. Nielsen reported that the game drew and averaged 115.1 million viewers in the U.S. across all platforms.

Simply put, the Super Bowl does not have the international viewership the World Cup commands.

World Cup vs Super Bowl Viewership

World Cup vs Super Bowl

The 2021 Super Bowl between Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs was the least-watched Super Bowl since 2008. Its 96.4 million viewers in the U.S. was below the 105 million Americans who watched 20 minutes of at least one game from the 2014 World Cup. 

World Cup vs Super Bowl Revenue

The massive viewership numbers of the World Cup and Super Bowl pad the coffers of FIFA and the NFL respectively.

FIFA has turned a profit of nearly $5 billion or more from the last three World Cups. The TV rights for the 2014 World Cup ($2.43 billion) exceeded all of FIFA's expenditures ($2.22 billion) for the tournament in Brazil.

World Cup vs Super Bowl revenue

The Super Bowl typically accounts for over $600 million of the NFL’s revenue with the number rising each season. That number helps make the NFL the leading revenue generator among all professional sports leagues, having surpassed $18 billion during the 2022 season.

Although the World Cup lasts just a month and features 64 games, its 2022 revenue in Qatar smashed FIFA’s previous record with $7.5 billion.

So, where does the money go? In 2022 Argentina’s national team received $42 million from FIFA in exchange for winning the World Cup. That $42 million was considered a cost for FIFA, so it did not come out of its $7.5 billion profit from the tournament. 

A total of $440 million of prize money was split between the 32 teams at the 2022 World Cup. Runner-up France received $30 million of the purse. Each player on France’s national team was given £265,000 or roughly $346,000 per player.

If Argentina’s federation gave their players the same cut of the winnings as the French, then that means each player on Argentina’s 2022 World Cup roster went home with around $485,000.

Embed from Getty Images

The World Cup winners’ haul looks handsome compared to the $157,000 each member of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl-winning team received from the NFL in 2023. Philadelphia Eagles players took in around half of that sum at $82,000 apiece. Each NFL team has a 53-man roster, but a few extra players earn that bonus by being on the roster for at least half of a team’s games. 

Still, the projected total player winnings of $12.6 million from the Super Bowl accounts for less than two percent of the revenue the game generates for the NFL.

When it comes down to the international TV audience, revenue generated per game and even the pay that winning players receive, the World Cup vs Super Bowl debate has a clear winner. The World Cup is top dog. 

Videos you might like