ZURICH: Some 3.572bn viewers – more than half of the global population aged four and over – tuned in to the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia according to official broadcast data.

The global in-home TV audience watching at least one minute of coverage totalled 3.262bn while a further estimated 309.7m watched no coverage in home but caught the action on digital platforms, in public viewing areas or in bars and restaurants, boosting the total audience by 9.5pc.

The final in which France beat Croatia 4-2 in Moscow on July 15 attracted a combined global audience of 1.12bn, comprising 884.37m viewers tuning in to linear TV coverage and a further 231.82m out-of-home and digital-only viewers.

Over the 64 matches, the average live audience was 191m, each game being a global televisual event in its own right.

The report also reveals that, on average, viewers watching on TV at home engaged with the coverage for longer than in previous FIFA World Cups: the number of viewers catching at least three minutes of the 2018 edition was 3.04bn, a 10.9pc increase on Brazil 2014.

Meanwhile, the audience watching for at least 30 minutes was 2.49bn, way up on 2014’s 1.95b viewers.

All around the world, broadcasters reached unprecedented numbers of unique users through their digital platforms as second-screen and on-the-move viewing was firmly established as a way of enjoying the FIFA World Cup.

Philippe Le Floc’h, FIFA’s chief commercial officer, said: “These figures really do support the claim that Russia 2018 was the best World Cup ever. We’re particularly pleased to see an increase in the average time viewers are engaging with matches, which shows that we are giving the fans what they want.

“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.”

Publicis Media Sport & Entertainment (PMSE) compiled the consolidated audience figures for the 2018 FIFA World Cup based 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.

PMSE’s Global Broadcast and Audience Summary of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is available (in English only) on FIFA.com.