It is estimated that 1 billion people watched the FIFA 2014 football World Cup final, by far the biggest sporting event in the world.
These figures show just how much the sport is followed around the world. The FIFA World Cup is, of course, the biggest show of all, and takes place every four years when the elite teams from around the world converge on the host nation to take part.
The whole world stops to watch the World Cup, but football is, on so many levels, the staple of entertainment, especially for men.
Whether that involves actually going to the stadium to watch the match, or meeting in a pub or bar to watch it with friends, football is one of the most popular forms of spectator entertainment in the world.
It is a multi-billion industry, with advertisers capitalising on the television exposure of the matches to reach target audiences. It should come as no surprise that the big spending companies time their advertising slots to coincide with football matches.
Some tournaments are more prestigious than others, but Europe in particular, is the biggest consumer of football as a form of entertainment. From the Premier League, to La Liga, the Serie A and the Bundesliga, football fans will drop everything to watch their teams play – week in, week out.
While a substantial amount of women enjoy the game, many refer to themselves as being football widows, meaning that their husbands or partners are nowhere to be seen when the football is on. Saturdays and Sundays are normally the days when games are played, but the expansion of football to the European stage has resulted in the Champions League becoming increasingly more prestigious. These games are normally played mid-week every few weeks, adding more fixtures to football fans’ entertainment schedules.