PARIS • A record audience of more than 3.5 billion people watched this year's World Cup in Russia, with the final between France and Croatia attracting 1.12 billion viewers, world football's governing body revealed on Friday.
Fifa said 3.572 billion viewers - more than half of the global population aged four and over - watched some part of the official coverage, which was broadcast live from June 14 to July 15.
The global in-home television audience watching at least one minute accounted for almost 3.3 billion viewers, a 2.2 per cent increase on Brazil 2014, according to Fifa's audit of audience data.
A further 309.7 million caught the action on digital platforms, public viewing areas or in bars and restaurants.
The most-watched games after France's 4-2 final victory were England's semi-final defeat by Croatia and the other last-four clash between France and Belgium.
"These figures really do support the claim that Russia 2018 was the best World Cup ever," said Fifa's chief commercial officer Philippe Le Floc'h.
"The fact that half the world's population was watching reflects not just the high quality of our award-winning live coverage, but also that fans everywhere are insatiable for world-class football."
The coverage reached around 1.6 billion individuals in Asia, with 655.7 million (18.4 per cent of the global total) from China, who failed to qualify for Russia 2018.
The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar.