How many people will watch the 2022 World Cup final?

The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world
The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

The 2022 Qatar World Cup is coming to a close, just as quickly as it began. Having crammed the games into such a short space of time, it feels like just days ago that Ecuador breezed past Qatar in the opening game of the tournament.

With 62 games having been played, we now know that it is France and Argentina who will do battle on Sunday 18 December to see who will be crowned world champions. The match will take place at the Lusail Iconic Stadium and will kick off at 15:00 GMT.

The French made it to the final by beating Morocco 2-0 on Wednesday night thanks to goals from AC Milan defender Theo Hernandez and Eintracht Frankfurt forward Randal Kolo Muani. For Argentina, they got the better of Croatia by a 3-0 scoreline. It was Paris Saint-Germain's Lionel Messi who opened the scoring from the spot before Manchester City's Julian Alvarez scored twice to wrap the game up.

Generally, the World Cup final is the sporting event that garners the most global attention and it is a huge day for television networks across the world. Just how many people are expected to be tuning in for France vs Argentina on Sunday?

How popular are World Cup finals on TV?

The viewing figures for World Cup matches have been growing rapidly over the past four or five tournaments and there is no reason to suggest that the 2022 tournament and its final will not continue that trend.

Data from FIFA has said that an estimated 3.575 billion people tuned in to watch the matches over the course of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and 1.12 billion viewed the final between France and Croatia.

The suggestions already from FIFA say the growth has continued and when the full figures are collated at the end of the tournament, they are expected to be record-breaking.

Lionel Messi, Josko Gvardiol
Lionel Messi has impressed in Qatar / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

How many people could watch the 2022 World Cup final?

Supposing that the trends continue, it is expected that the 2022 World Cup final could be watched by 1.5 billion worldwide, which is a staggering proportion of people on earth.

The 2010 final in South Africa was viewed by 909 million people, and then it breached the one billion mark in 2014 as 1.01 billion watched the final in Brazil between Argentina and Germany. Then as mentioned, it rose to 1.12 billion in 2018. A surge to over 1.5 billion is an ambitious estimate from FIFA, but it is certainly possible.

It will be interesting to see whether the games being held in the European winter has affected the viewing figures, as it is a time when television viewing figures are much higher generally. People can spend less time outside, meaning that naturally more television is consumed.

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Another factor affecting the figures could be the controversy surrounding the World Cup and the number of people who have chosen not to watch, although there is little evidence right now of the masses choosing to go down that route.

It seems very likely that viewing figures will continue to grow for football's biggest tournament, almost regardless of where and when the games are played.