10 of the Most Watched Television Events in History

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For most of us, television is part of our daily lives. We grew up glued to the tube (for better or worse), and it’s shaped our lives in many ways.

No doubt we also remember those iconic events that were broadcast on television and helped shape us as culture.

Here are 10 of the most watched television events of all time.

How many of these did you see on your TV?

10. John F. Kennedy’s Funeral – 1963

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Kennedy’s assassination rocked the nation to its core, so it’s not surprising that an estimated 180 million people tuned in to watch his televised funeral. Approximately 93% of American families with a TV were all gathered in front of it at that exact moment.

9. Prince William And Catherine Middleton’s Wedding – 2011

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

We all know how obsessed the world seems to be with the Royal Family, so when one of them ties the knot, you know millions of people are going to be in attendance (okay, from their couches, but still). Hundreds of millions of people around the globe watched the wedding, including millions who streamed the event on YouTube.

8. Cricket World Cup Semi-Final (India vs. Pakistan) – 2011

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Although cricket is almost nonexistent in the U.S., it’s one of the most popular sports around the world, and the numbers don’t lie. This particular match took place in India and an estimated 400 million people watched India defeat Pakistan.

7. Spring Festival Gala – 2012

Photo Credit: Pixabay

This event takes place in China to celebrate the Chinese New Year and has aired every year since 1983. The 2012 edition of the Spring Festival Gala had almost 500 million viewers. I guess that beats the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade…

6. Michael Jackson’s Memorial Service – 2009

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When the King of Pop died suddenly in the summer of 2009, a public service was held to honor him at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The service was a star-studded event, and an estimated 500 million people watched it from afar.

5. Apollo 11 Moon Landing – 1969

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

President Kennedy vowed to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, and the monumental achievement took place on July 20, 1969. At the time, the 500 million people who tuned in to witness the historical event was the largest television audience ever.

4. World Cup Final (Italy vs. France) – 2006

Photo Credit: Flickr,IsakFotografi

When Italy and France squared off in the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, a whopping 715 million people around the globe tuned in to watch. Italy beat France on penalty kicks to win its first World Cup title since 1982.

3. Elvis Live From Hawaii – 1973

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On January 14, 1973, Elvis Presley played a concert in Hawaii that was broadcast around the world and about 1 BILLION people tuned in from 40 different countries. The King lives!

2. The Rescue of Chilean Miners – 2010

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, when 33 miners were trapped far underground in Chile, the world waited with baited breath for them to be rescued. The rescue operation took months and it took nearly a full day for all the miners to all be taken to safety. However, after 69 days underground, every last one was rescued as 1 billion viewers watched and prayed.

1. Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony – 2008

Photo Credit: Pixabay

More than 2 billion people tuned in to watch the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The event lasted four hours and featured 15,000 performers.