When it comes to the world’s most popular sports events, nothing tops the Winter and Summer Olympics… except, maybe, the FIFA World Cup. Both sports events bring the world’s top athletes together, who battle it out to bring home medals and trophies to their home country.
The scale for both sporting events is almost unfathomable. The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games brought in a total viewership of over three billion people. Meanwhile, the FIFA World Cup saw over 3.5 billion viewers tune in back in 2018—which is close to half the world’s population.
Both events also see huge upticks in betting across the globe. Some fans want to back their country with offers from OddsChecker, while others might be looking to back another favorite if their own country failed to qualify. To put it simply, both events get sports fans across the globe fired up about the competition.
But which one, in terms of entertainment, is the best in sports?
The Case for the Olympics: Diversity of Events
If there’s one element of the Olympics that works in the event’s favor, it’s the diversity of sports. Even if someone doesn’t like swimming, they can catch a game of basketball or table tennis. For winter sports, if someone isn’t keen on ice dancing, they can catch a bobsleigh or luge event. In other words, there’s something for everyone.
At the same time, the Olympics takes on a cultural significance. The Opening Ceremony is one of the biggest moments in the competition—and the carrying of the Olympic flame is considered a high honor. Viewed in a cultural sense, the Olympics are more than just sports entertainment. It’s part of our collective human heritage.
The Case for the World Cup: Pure Hype
The Olympics brings the world together… but the World Cup pits nation against nation. After all, only 32 will qualify for group stages, which means the competition gets tight even before the World Cup officially kicks off. And with fewer games to watch, that means there’s a higher concentration of fans tuning in life.
This creates a sense of community—even if it’s based on competition. Around the world, football fans set early alarms, skip away from work early, or listen live to radio broadcasts as each game unfolds. The closer to the final match, the more the world watches or listens with bated breath to each game. This element of progress toward a single champion makes the World Cup even tenser for viewers. Unlike the Olympics, which includes three winners in dozens of events, there can be only one champion in football.