More than half of the globe's population aged four and over tuned in to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup, according to a new audit by football's governing body.
FIFA published a report Friday saying a record 3.572 billion people enjoyed the tournament in Russia, with as many as 1.2 billion watching the final as France were crowned champions after beating Croatia convincingly.
2018 FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
Sports and recreation
Sports organizations and teams
Continents and regions
FIFA's Chief Commercial Officer Philippe Le Floc'h said the figures supported the view that the 2018 tournament was the "best World Cup ever."
FIFA's audit consolidated all the final broadcasting figures from around the world and included the estimated 309.7 million people who caught the action in public places or on digital platforms.
The report said that people engaged longer with the 2018 tournament than with any other World Cup in history.
The number of people watching three minutes or more increased 10.9% from the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
"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," said Le Floc'h.
An average live audience of 191 million watched each of the 64 games.
FIFA said the report was compiled by Publicis Media Sport & Entertainment (PMSE), which based its audit on scheduling and audience data gathered from official television auditing agencies in markets around the world, from FIFA's Media Rights Licensees (MRLs), and non-captured (out-of-home and digital) audience data provided by Nielsen.