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The Most Watched TV Events of All Time, Around the World

December 29, 2014

Most Watched TVThe most watched TV show in American history is almost always the most recent Super Bowl—the last few have drawn more than 100 million viewers. Here’s what’s brought the most people to their TVs in countries around the world. (Hint: it’s more sports.)


The men’s final round of the 2005 Australian Open—in which Marat Safin defeated Australian Lleyton Hewton—was viewed by more than four million Australians. That’s about 25 percent of the population.


The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver, and the Canadian men’ hockey team reached the gold-medal round. Team Canada won, and 26.5 million Canadians watched at least of the game. Canada has a population of 34 million, so more than 75 percent of the country tuned in.


Germany played in the final game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Argentina. About 35 million people—or 86 percent of the country—watched the game on TV.

United Kingdom

England is soccer (or football) crazy, but the national team has only won the World Cup once, in 1966, when it was held in London. The broadcast of the match in July 1966 was viewed by 32.3 million Britons, about 60 percent of the U.K. (The second-most-watched broadcast in British history: the 1997 funeral of Princes Diana, with 32.1 viewers.)

New Zealand

New Zealand has a population of about 4 million people. About half the country watched the New Zealand national rugby team defeat England in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.


Since 1958, the country’s entrant in the annual Eurovision contest is determined by another musical competition called Melodifestivalen. (Arguably the most famous Eurovision winner of all time is the Swedish pop group ABBA.) Since 2000, the broadcasts have taken off in popularity, with the 2006 Melodifestivalen (“Melody Festival”) final attracting a record 4.24 million Swedes, or nearly half the country.

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