Though the Super Bowl lacks the global reach of the World Cup, it still has a growing audience outside the United States. More than 170 countries and territories around the world will have the opportunity to view a live broadcast of the NFL's championship game between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos at 6:30 p.m. ET.
According to FIFA, more than 715 million people watched the 2014 World Cup Final. The Super Bowl won't come anywhere close to that number, but should receive over 115 million U.S. viewers and millions more in countries that have shown growing interest in the NFL. Time zone issues also play a role in viewership, with the Super Bowl starting at 12:30 a.m. on a Monday in the Central European Time Zone. In contrast, the start time for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was 9 p.m. in central Europe.
Easily the most popular league in the U.S., the NFL has made efforts to broaden its reach to other countries for decades. In 1991, the World League of American Football had its inaugural season and would have teams in Berlin, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Rhein, London and Edinburgh. After much rebranding, the league would eventually fold in 2007.
London's famed Wembley Stadium has hosted 14 total games between two NFL teams since 2007, with attendance exceeding 80,000 13 times. Two more NFL games will be played at Wembley next season. The New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams will play at Twickenham Stadium in London next season, while the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders will meet at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. London is expected to host three more games in 2017.
There will be a strong international media presence at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom will all have broadcasting crews, according to the NFL. The game will also be broadcast in almost 25 different languages, including French, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.
In the U.S., ESPN Deportes will provide coverage of the game in Spanish, while the game will be broadcast in English on CBS.