RIO DE JANEIRO: The World Cup group stage hit record numbers of viewers across the world, with a breakthrough performance in the United States and impressive progress in Europe, Asia and the rest of the Americas.

All eight World Cup groups set viewing highs for at least one territory, underlining the breadth of football’s popularity across the world .

The figures support FIFA’s expectation of an increase in the global TV audience compared with the 3.2bn reach of the 2010 finals in South Africa.

Director of FIFA TV Niclas Ericson said: “We believe the overall audience figures from the 2014 FIFA World Cup will show again that the World Cup is the most popular single-sporting event on the planet and that football is the world’s No1 sport.

“To see this overwhelming surge of interest in the United States is a true ‘watershed’ moment for the FIFA World Cup and for football. We have been thrilled to see the way the American fans are embracing the FIFA World Cup like never before.”

“We have also seen some great numbers from Asia, Europe and other parts of the Americas, which gives us confidence that this World Cup will prove to be the most popular ever in terms of TV audiences,” Ericson said.

Key figures include:

USA: Portugal game was most watched football match ever on US TV, higher than any of NBA Finals and higher than average of 2013 World Series 2013 (ESPN, UNIVISION: 24.7 million combined)

Brazil: Croatia match drew highest 2014 TV sports broadcast (TV Globo, Bandeirantes: 47.4 million combined)

France: Switzerland game reached largest TV audience since 2007 (TF1: 16.7 million)

Netherlands: Chile match reached biggest TV audience since 2010 FIFA World Cup Final™ (Ned 1: 8.1 million)

Germany: USA match attracted biggest TV audience in 2 years (ZDF: 27.3 million)

Italy: Uruguay game watched by biggest TV audience in 2 years (RAI 1, Sky Mondiale, RAI Sport: 19.3 million combined)

UK: Uruguay game drew biggest TV audience in 2 years (ITV: 17.9 million)

Spain: Chile match attracted biggest TV audience for 2 years (Telecinco: 13.2 million)

Japan: Ivory Coast game was biggest sports broadcast of 2014 (NHK: 34.1 million)

For full details of FIFA’s match day reports on TV audience figures, please visit the FIFA Media Channel or contact