Which sporting events can claim to have stopped the world?

When it comes to sporting events on a global scale, you often hear tournament organisers or promoters attempting to fit the phrase “the world will stop” into their speel in an attempt to sell their product or event to the greater public. In some cases, it is extremely far-fetched, it simply being an effort to generate revenue or ensure that more eyeballs are watching than they are perhaps realistically anticipating. However, there are some events which have and will stand the test of time, and that is a decisive denominator when it comes to assessing different eras, whether that be in a sporting sense or a different industry.

Research from online slots site Betway shows that there are two sporting events which can class themselves as having stopped a significant portion of the world. We are approaching the 50-year anniversary of the universally-popular ‘Rumble In The Jungle’ between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, a showdown which will forever be spoken about as one of the greatest sporting events in history. Whether it is the background to the fight, the location, the bout itself or the fact that an award-winning documentary was produced decades later, there are multiple reasons as to why this event will always be looked at fondly, and the numbers suggest that a quarter of the world’s population experienced the event live, occupying fifth spot in the list compiled by Betway.

At a time when Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua are preparing for their world heavyweight title rematch in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, their respective promoters and the television broadcasters which have shelled out for the rights to the fight will be aggressively promoting the fight, but it will not come anywhere near to matching the viewing statistics generated by the showdown in Zaire. Financially, it is on another level compared to the vast majority of other sporting contests between two individuals but in terms of legacy, it will be quickly become just another fight in the books, particularly if Usyk replicates the performance that he produced in London last September.

The list also highlights the popularity of the opening ceremony to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. While the event had less of the world’s population watching in terms of percentages, the gross number was significantly higher, likely owing to the event being staged in Asia. However, research from online slots site Betway also includes eight other global events which can be classed in the same bracket. Can you guess which ones?

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