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Super Bowl vs World Cup: The Record-Breaking Numbers and Social Media’s Reaction

Record-breaking viewership numbers, incredible sporting merit and unlimited entertainment value – the Super Bowl and the World Cup Final had it all. But how do they compare?

Credit: Shutterstock

The Super Bowl took place on 12th February, drawing in a huge number of viewers with its sporting action, musical performances, and highly anticipated advertisements. The World Cup Final was nearly a month before, on 18th December, also attracting an impressive number of viewers through a matchup deemed by some as ‘the greatest in history’. But how do they compare?

The Numbers

The Super Bowl saw Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Philadelphia Eagles to win 38–35 – the scoreline reflects how entertaining and well-fought the game was by both sides of the matchup. The game broke records, becoming the most-watched Super Bowl in 6 years, the most-streamed (multi-platform) Super Bowl ever, and the THIRD most-watched TV show in history. However, the game wasn’t even the most watched part of the program’s schedule.

Media Credit: Twitter

Rihanna performed in the prestigious half-time spot this year – she put on a stellar performance that broke the internet and is still being talked about, imitated, and reposted weeks later. Her performance drew in a reported 118.7 million viewers across multiple streaming platforms, nearly 6 million more than the total viewers throughout the game – around 113 million.

Media Credit: Twitter

The FIFA World Cup Final on Sunday, 13th December, also attracted many viewers. The finale of the most significant international soccer competition occurs once every four years, which may affect how many more streams it boasts compared to other events, such as the Super Bowl. This time, the World Cup trophy was battled over by France – the holding champions – and Argentina, motivated by the idea that their captain, Lionel Messi, may never get another chance to win the competition.

The World Cup trophy and one of the stadiums used in Qatar. Credit: Sanjay JS/Shutterstock

Whenever the World Cup comes around, it becomes the most-watched event of the year – this tournament was no different. An estimated 1.8 billion people tuned in over multiple platforms to watch Argentina narrowly beat France on penalties – a testament to the sport’s popularity, considering there’s no half-time show and no spectacle advertisements. The match is now referred to as one of the best in history, with both teams having performed incredibly and the game ending in such drama.

Social Media’s Response

As mentioned, the Super Bowl – particularly its half-time show – had a massive impact on the reaction it gained from social media. Roughly three weeks after it took place, the hashtag – superbowlhalftimeshow – has 821.5 million views on Tik Tok (as of 1st March 2023). Forbes reports that 26,131,270 million tweets were recorded during the Kansas/Philadelphia game, a considerable number considering the game lasts only an hour.

The World Cup final also brought about a massive reaction from social media – Twitter reported that there were around 32.1 million tweets during the game. However, the most impressive impact the World Cup final had on social media was the celebratory pictures Lionel Messi posted, who many a soccer fan was happy to see win the tournament. As of just over two months after the game, 4 of the Top 10 most liked posts on Instagram are of Lionel Messi with the World Cup trophy – he claims the top spot with a record 75.3 million likes.

All in all, the world is exceptionally fortunate to have witnessed two such culturally significant sporting events within two months of each other – 2022 was the first World Cup to take place in winter due to the controversial host nation, Qatar’s, summers being too hot to play the tournament in. The 2026 World Cup takes place in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, meaning it’ll be the first time in over 30 years that the event is being (co) held in the U.S. Unlike last year’s, that tournament will take place in the summer, meaning the Super Bowl will have already taken place back in February – it’ll be interesting to see if any more records are broken, both on the fields and in viewership numbers.

Who knows, the two Super Bowls between now and 2026 may shatter this year’s numbers and set the standard! No matter what, we have a fascinating year of sports to look forward to.

Written By

My name is Donal Hay, I'm a student studying in Manchester with a passion for writing and finding interesting news stories.

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