How Football Became The Most Entertaining Sport To Watch

Football is one of the most-watched sports on television. Over 1.5 billion people tuned in to watch the 2022 World Cup Final played in Qatar between France and Argentina.

When you compare that to the 2022 Super Bowl, which drew a TV audience of just over 99 million, it’s easy to see that football is a true crowd-pleaser globally.

But how did football become the world’s most entertaining sport?

Rooted In History

Football has long been the nation’s favourite sport and a global favourite too. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded 120 years ago to oversee international games and competitions.

However, it wasn’t until 1937 that the first ever football match was screened on television, when viewers were able to tune in to a specially arranged friendly match between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves.

It was almost a decade later that the first live football match was shown on TV and another two decades before football became part of the regular viewing schedule, with the advent of Match of the Day in 1964 and, of course, the 1966 World Cup.

Worldwide Appeal

Football is a language of its own and one that can be recognised and understood worldwide.

This is how people from different countries and backgrounds without a common language are still able to pick up a ball and play a game together.

This is evidenced by the number of footballers who play for local teams in other countries.

This is also true of football fans, who may be from different countries and cultures and may not understand one another in conversation but who will come together in the stands or from their sofas to cheer on their team.

Fans across the globe can be seen sporting their favourite team’s kit and tuning into games with their friends and family to show their support no matter where they are in the world.

Excitement Of The Game

There’s no denying that football can be an exciting game where pretty much anything can happen.

There have been numerous examples of matches that have turned out nothing at all like they were predicted to, with underdogs stealing the game to win or an unexpected turn of events changing the outcome of the match.

After all, commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme’s line, “They think it’s all over…it is now!” is such a famous quote for a reason!

From controversial refereeing decisions to the agonising wait for VAR (Video Assistant Referee) replays so that a free-kick can be awarded – or not as the case may be! There are also penalty shoot-outs, player substitutions and the possibility of a hat-trick.

That’s without the excitement of a goal or near-miss or the drama of big personalities clashing on the pitch.

Plus, when the stakes are high, such as derby games, cup finals or international games, the excitement is even greater!

The Commentary

Another thing that makes football so entertaining to watch is the commentary. Football matches just wouldn’t be the same without so many brilliant commentators offering their smart, funny and on-the-ball insights.

There have been memorable commentators in every generation, including the previously mentioned Kenneth Wolstenholme along with Brian Moore, who is considered the ‘father of English football commentary’, and the legendary John Motson who sadly passed away last year.

More recently, Martin Tyler, Jon Champion and Clive Tyldesley are among the most well-known commentators in the sport.

As football is so popular around the world, major matches are also broadcast and commentated on in multiple languages so that the joy of the game is accessible to all.

The Refereeing

Beyond the routine controversies surrounding fouls and penalties in football, consider the notable incident where Diego Maradona, one of the greatest footballers, scored a decisive goal with his hand against England in the 1986 World Cup Quarter Final, later dubbing it “The hand of God!” 

In a 2005 match, Manchester United’s goalkeeper Roy Carroll fumbled a ball past the goal line, grabbed it, and feigned ignorance, but the referee and linesmen missed it, resulting in a 0-0 draw against Tottenham. 

Another intriguing occurrence happened in 2006 when a ball boy scored a goal at the Paulista Football Federation Cup against Atletico Sorocaba, with the referee Silvia Regina de Oliveira awarding the goal to Santacruzense. 

Despite controversy, such incidents add to the allure of football matches.

The Transfers Windows

Scouts representing leading football clubs tirelessly search worldwide for emerging talent, while players, owners and managers engage in negotiations to secure advantageous deals. 

For fans, the anticipation extends beyond speculating about player transfers to relishing the most thrilling aspect that follows.

As the second half of the season rolls off, it’s time for multimillion-pound transfers or promising players to shine in their new clubs. 

The annual cycle brings a mix of disappointment, excitement, and surprise for fans, making each season a compelling and dynamic experience.