Around half the world's population tuned in to this year's soccer World Cup

Key Points
  • Looking at people aged four and over, the research said 3.262 billion people watched at least one minute of the tournament on a TV at home.
  • A further 309.7 million watched the action via a digital platform or a public viewing area.
French fans attend the French football team parade on the Champs Elysees in a double-decker bus the day after their victory in the 2018 World Cup final, on July 16, 2018 in Paris, France. The French team won their second star after winning 4-2 against Croatia in the final.
Bruno Levesque | IP3 | Getty Images

A combined audience of 3.572 billion meant that roughly half the world's population tuned in to watch this summer's soccer World Cup, according to new audience data.

Looking at people aged four and over, the research said 3.262 billion people watched at least one minute of the tournament on a TV at home, while a further 309.7 million watched the action via a digital platform or a public viewing area. The current global population is approximately 7.7 billion, according to several estimates.

The 3.262 billion at-home figure for this year's Russian tournament compares to 3.2 billion for Brazil four years ago, which matched the audience for South Africa in 2010.

In a press release Friday, FIFA's Chief Commercial Officer Philippe Le Floc'h said the figures supported the claim that Russia 2018 was "the best World Cup ever."

"The fact that half the world's population watched the FIFA World Cup reflects not just the high quality of our award-winning live coverage, but also that fans everywhere are insatiable for world-class football," he said.

The research, compiled by Publicis Media Sport & Entertainment, also showed the at-home TV audience watched for longer than in previous World Cups. It said that 3.04 billion watched more than three minutes of the event, a 10.9% rise from Brazil 2014. Fans who watched more than 30 minutes of the coverage rose to 2.49 billion, up from 1.95 billion in 2014.

The final on July 15 between France and Croatia, a surprisingly open affair that finished 4-2 to the French, drew a combined global audience of 1.12 billion, the report said.