The Super Bowl has every every sports fan in America filled with anticipation at the splendor and excitement of the day. With an average viewership of 111.5 million, it is by far the most watched and highly rated show on American television, year in and year out.
But while that's truly impressive, it leads some into believing that the Super Bowl is also the biggest and most watched sports event at a global level. Cool your jets right there, because it's NOT! Not even close.
The NFL does make more money than any other professional sports league in the world, but it is down to its monopoly in football and Roger Goodell's make-money-any-which-way-you-can policy.
When it comes down solely on viewership, however, the Super Bowl trails far behind climactic events from other sports. Take a look at this simple infographic to know more:
Super Bowl winners might call themselves the world champions of their sport, but the fact remains that the NFL is a franchise-based league which includes teams from the U.S. only. The world is not welcome here. This policy of selective inclusion naturally limits the NFL's viewership. Hence, why the FIFA World Cup – which keeps the door open for all the countries of the world – is a global carnival, the NFL and its Super Bowl are barely noticed outside North America.
But then FIFA World Cup is the most famous tournament of the biggest sport on our planet, and any other sport's finale paired with it is bound to come off looking worst. The thing is that the Super Bowl doesn't hold a candle even to the climax of soccer's continental cup tourney – the UEFA Euro.
What's more, the Super Bowl audience is inferior in number to the Champions League final, Olympics 100m sprint final and even Cricket World Cup's deciding game. By the way, those gasping at the Super Bowl's record audience of 111.5 million should know that the upcoming Cricket World Cup clash between India and Pakistan is expected to be seen by approximately 1 billion people and 2 billion eye balls.
Anyway, from a sporting point of view, football is in no way inferior to any of those. If anything, its intense competition, physicality and hybrid nature – combination of rugby and soccer – gives it the edge. But unless it finds a way of exploring the untapped international audience, it will remain a one-country sport. One solution, perhaps, could be to start a mini-league in Europe, or some alternative way of expanding the game outside the U.S.
There is a reason why one-third of the entire U.S. population tunes into watch this mesmerizing spectacle every year. In theory, if that number is applied on the entire world population, the results could be staggering. But to make that happen, gridiron needs to be taken out of its comfort zone.