Sport has the unique ability to capture the attention of a worldwide audience via millions of television viewers on an emotional rollercoaster. There is little to rival the sheer joy of seeing your team win, or the crushing sense of desolation you can feel over a loss – by a group of people you may never have met.
Here are the top ten most-watched sporting events in TV history.
1. Fifa World Cup – audience reach: 3.5-billion
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Football's most elite tournament occurs once every four years, and is still the undisputed champion when it comes to audience reach.
The World Cup can turn players into instant legends. Some of these include Brazil's Pele, who won three World Cups, Argentina's Diego Maradona and his infamous "Hand of God", and Spaniard Andries Iniesta, who won his country's maiden title with a goal in the dying minutes of the final.
The average audience watching a World Cup stands at 3.5-billion, and the 2014 Fifa World Cup final alone, between Germany and Argentina, attracted over 1-billion viewers. The power of the beautiful game!
2. Tour de France – audience reach: 2.6-billion
Most people wouldn't think the Tour de France is among the top-watched sports, but the three-week race boasts an average TV viewership of 2.6-billion. Not only that, it is also the best-attended annual sporting event on the planet.
The tournament has given us iconic cyclists, including Lance Armstrong (now fallen from grace), Alberto Contador and Chris Froome.
3. Olympic Games – audience reach: 2-billion
The summer Olympic Games, which also come round every four years, is the ultimate goal for athletes from diverse disciplines around the world. On average the Games capture the imagination and eyes of 2-billion viewers.
The Olympics have made heroes of athletes like Usain Bolt, Wayde van Niekerk and Michael Phelps. The next Summer Olympics are scheduled for 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
4. Uefa Champions League – audience reach: 1.7-billion
Europe's most prestigious football club tournament, the Champions League is a trophy that most players dream of winning only second to the World Cup. It has an annual global TV audience of 1.7-billion, accumulated over all the matches.
Players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka are just some of the stars who have won the Ballon d'Or (an award for the best player in the world) in the same season in which they won the Champions League.
5. Fifa Confederations Cup – audience reach: 1-billion
A year before the grand football spectacle of the Fifa World Cup, the host country puts on a rehearsal tournament, the Fifa Confederations Cup, in which national teams who have won their respective continental trophies face off against each other.
As Russia hosts football's biggest tournament in June, it has already hosted the 2017 Confed Cup. Russia won, thrilling the local population – whose joy made it easy to see why the spectacle amasses an average audience of a billion viewers.
6. Asian Games – audience reach: 986-million
Asia is home to more than half of Earth's population, so when the countries from that part of the world come together for an athletic event, it is understandable how it can make it on this list. The quadrennial multisports event attracts 986-million viewers on average.
7. Rugby World Cup – audience reach: 789-million
The gentlemen's game makes up number seven on the list, bringing in an average 789-million viewers.
The Rugby World Cup is usually about the top northern hemisphere sides – England, France, Scotland and Wales, especially – against the best teams in the southern hemisphere – New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
8. Giro d'Italia – audience reach: 775-million
Italy's version of Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, attracts 775-million viewers. Because the three-week race takes place between May and June, in balmy late spring Italian weather, is also recognised for its ability to attract live spectators.
9. Winter Olympics – audience reach: 478-million
The Winter Olympics – the 2018 edition of which is set to conclude on Friday in PyeongChang, South Korea –don't draw as many viewers as the Summer Olympics, but they still manage to pull in 478-million viewers, narrowly missing the half-billion mark.
10. Cricket World Cup – audience reach: 400-million
The 50-over tournament, which plays host to world's finest cricket nations, manages to amass an audience of 400-million every four years. The biggest match in the history of the World Cup was India vs Pakistan in 2015, which attracted a global audience of more than 1-billion viewers.