The 2010 World Cup final was seen by at least 1 billion people, although the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony appears to retain top spot as the most-watched televised event, according to figures published on Monday by FIFA.
Source
AP
12 Jul 2011 - 6:00 AM  UPDATED 8 Nov 2012 - 6:18 PM

One year after Spain beat the Netherlands, FIFA released its research that 909.6 million television viewers tuned in to at least one minute of the match at home, and the ratings likely topped one billion people when adding people who watched online and in public viewing places.

FIFA said 619.7 million people watched 20 consecutive minutes of Spain's 1-0 extra-time win.

However, the official ratings for football's biggest match seems to have been beaten by the four-hour Beijing ceremony.

FIFA said the 'average in-home global audience' was 530.9 million for the final played on 11 July, 2010, at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium.

The Olympics opening at Bird's Nest stadium was credited with a 593 million average audience.

FIFA said the 2010 World Cup - comprising 64 matches played by 32 countries over one month - was broadcast in every territory in the world.

More than 3.2 billion people, or 46.4 percent of the population, watched live coverage for a minimum of one minute, FIFA's research said.

The average official rating was 188.4 million for each match.

"These results show that the FIFA World Cup remains a compelling spectacle for viewers around the world," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said in a statement.

FIFA earned $2.4 billion euros ($3.16 billion) in broadcasting deals tied to the 2010 tournament, according to its financial report published in March.

FIFA said its ratings research included audited audience figures from 80 territories covering 70 percent of the world's population.

"Estimated ratings continue to be necessary in much of Africa, the Middle East, Caribbean, Pacific Islands and smaller markets in the Asia subcontinent," football's governing body said.