While comparisons have been made between the NFL’s Super Bowl and football’s most-watched game, the UEFA Champions League final, it’s difficult to compare the two sports. The Super Bowl, the biggest event in the NFL, is the annual finale to decide the champions of the league. It is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, attracting millions of viewers from all over.
American football is widely regarded as the most popular sport in the United States, a fact that is backed up by viewership figures. In 2022, 82 of the top 100 most-watched events on television were NFL games, clearly highlighting the level of interest in the sport within the country.
However, the most recent Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool was watched by 700 million people. This is significantly more than the 100 million viewers who tuned in for the Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals.
Gianni Infantino (FIFA President): “The Super Bowl is played every year, so why not a World Cup every 2 years?” pic.twitter.com/d6kqXRuSHF
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) October 14, 2021
This difference in viewership is likely due to the more global appeal of football, with its fanbase spread across many countries. American football, by comparison, has its main fanbase concentrated in the United States.
Some of the top footballers, such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Kylian Mbappe, can command salaries in the ranks of NFL quarterbacks. However, there is still a substantial pay gap between the two sports. The 10th-highest-paid NFL player, Kirk Cousins, earns up to $35 million a year, according to Marca. In football, the 10th-highest-paid player, Eden Hazard, doesn’t reach half of that amount, sitting at $17 million a year.
According to Marca, only Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Neymar exceed Kirk Cousins’ yearly salary of $35 million in Champions League football.
Forbes compares the most valuable teams in the world, including the NFL and the UEFA Champions League
Forbes recently released a list of the most valuable sports teams in the world, showcasing a wide variety of sports and countries. The list revealed that Real Madrid were ranked 13th, showing a major difference in financial power between the NFL and European football.
🎙| Florentino Pérez: “The audiovisual income of the NFL have surpassed those of the Champions League. I repeat: they must be doing something very well in the USA and very badly in Europe. Football is losing the battle.”
— Madrid Xtra (@MadridXtra) October 2, 2022
Nearly all the teams on the list are in America, which has seen a dramatic increase in their revenue compared to their European counterparts.
Here is the list (via Marca). Values are in USD:
- 1. Dallas Cowboys – 8 billion
- 2. New England Patriots – 6.4 billion
- 3. Los Angeles Rams – 6.2 billion
- 4. New York Yankees – 6 billion
- 4. New York Giants – 6 billion
- 6. New York Knicks – 5.8 billion
- 6. Chicago Bears – 5.8 billion
- 8. Golden State Warriors – 5.6 billion
- 8. Washington Commanders – 5.6 billion
- 10. LA Lakers – 5.5 billion
- 11. New York Jets – 5.4 billion
- 12. San Francisco 49ers – 5.2 billion
- 13. Real Madrid – 5.1 billion
- 13. Las Vegas Raiders – 5.1 billion
- 15. FC Barcelona – 5 billion