Sports are an important part of our culture because they bring people together and provide a temporary distraction from the stresses of everyday life. While sports vary greatly depending on the country or region, some are popular worldwide. Although it is difficult to estimate exact participation numbers for sports all over the world, available research can provide a general idea of some of the most popular sports.
Continue reading to learn about the world’s most popular sports and why they are so popular.
Top 10 Most Popular Sports In The World
Everyone on the planet watches at least one sport. It could be soccer, cricket, or tennis. Sports popularity can be measured in terms of fan following. The more popular the sport, the larger the global following. Let’s take a look at the world’s most popular sport.
1. Association Football (Soccer) – 4 Billion Fans
Soccer is a global sport that bridges gender and racial divides. It is played by over 250 million people in over 200 countries and dependencies and has over 4 billion followers worldwide. Every major football tournament is widely followed on various social media platforms.
Football also has some of the most well-known leagues in the world. Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea are some of the most popular sports teams. As a result, football makes waves around the world, particularly during the World Cup, which occurs every four years. Football is also one of the highest-paid sports in the world.
2. Cricket – 2.5 Billion Fans
Cricket is the world’s second most popular sport, with over 2.5 billion fans worldwide. Cricket is most popular in India, Pakistan, Australia, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, the West Indies, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe.
Cricket is a bat-and-ball sport played by two teams of 11 players each. Each team takes turns batting, and the goal is to score as many runs as possible. One team bats during each turn, known as an inning, while the other team fields. Cricket is divided into three formats: Test, One Day Internationals, and Twenty20.
3. Basketball – 2.2 Billion Fans
Basketball is a sport played on a rectangular court by two teams of five players each. At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins. Basketball is the world’s third most popular sport, with approximately 2-3 billion fans in the United States, Canada, China, and the Philippines.
You’ve probably heard of the National Basketball Association, abbreviated as NBA in the United States. It is the world’s most important basketball league, and it attracts some of the best players. In contrast to football, fans prefer to watch the NBA over international tournaments such as the Olympic Games, where players are grouped by country. This is because basketball is less competitive when players are separated by country because a few countries dominate the global scene.
4. Hockey – 2 Billion Fans
Hockey is the world’s fourth most popular sport. In Asian countries such as Pakistan, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia, and the Netherlands, the game has a good reputation. The total number of fans is estimated to be around 2 billion.
Hockey is divided into two very popular sports: summer field hockey and winter ice hockey. The overall goal of the two sports is the same: two teams compete against each other and must use a hockey stick to pass a ball or puck into the opposing goal.
Both types of hockey are major Olympic events. Field hockey is played on grass, whereas ice hockey is played on ice. Field hockey is more popular in the country than ice hockey when it comes to participation.
5. Tennis – 1 Billion Fans
Tennis is the world’s fifth most popular sport. Tennis is watched by an estimated one billion people worldwide, with viewers tuning in from all over the world. To score points, players on both sides of an elongated net try to hit a ball with a racket so that it either goes past their opponents or bounces twice on their opponents’ side.
To date, the tennis industry has seen consistent growth. Unfortunately, tennis is mostly appreciated in developed countries. The sport has historically been associated with the upper classes, and the audience reflects this.
6. Volleyball – 900 Million Fans
Volleyball is the world’s sixth most popular sport, with approximately 900 million fans spread across Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Australia. Volleyball is extremely popular around the world. However, it receives less coverage than other high-profile sports.
Volleyball is a team sport played by two teams of six players divided by a net. Under organized rules, each team attempts to score points by grounding a ball on the opposing team’s court. It has been a part of the official Summer Olympic Games program since 1964.
Beach volleyball, a popular variant of the game, is played on sand with two people on each team, as opposed to regular volleyball, which has six players on each team.
7. Table Tennis – 875 Million Fans
Table Tennis is the seventh most popular sport in the world, with approximately 850 million fans from Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Its popularity in the United States is steadily growing. Only China, Indonesia, and Malaysia usually compete in this sport on a professional level.
Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is primarily an individual sport, but it can also be played in a two-person team. Players compete on a small table with a net in the middle, and the goal of the game is similar to that of tennis: they must make the ball bounce on the opposing side of the table, and if the opponent cannot do the same, a point is earned.
Though table tennis events are not as well publicized as other major sporting events, it has a sizable number of social media followers and fans worldwide.
8. Baseball – 500 Million Fans
Baseball ranks eighth on our list of the top ten most popular sports in the world. Major League Baseball (MLB), the pinnacle of baseball leagues worldwide, has approximately 500 million fans worldwide and is one of the most popular sports in the United States. Baseball is popular throughout North America, as well as parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and East Asia.
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played by two teams of nine players who alternate between batting and fielding. The offense attempts to outscore its opponent by hitting a pitch thrown by the pitcher with a bat and moving counter-clockwise around four bases: first, second, third, and home plate. When a runner advances around the bases and returns to home plate, a run is scored.
9. Rugby – 475 Million Fans
With 475 million fans, rugby is one of the most popular sports in the world. Rugby is particularly popular in Australia, the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Pacific Islands. Argentina, Georgia, the United States, Canada, and Japan have also seen rapid growth in popularity.
Rugby began in the first half of the nineteenth century in England. Following that, it rose to prominence in Commonwealth communities. The major rugby tournament attracts top brands and significant sponsorship funds. To excel at the highest level, the game requires energy, power, and speed.
To score points in rugby, two teams attempt to kick, carry, or pass a ball over an end (goal) line. Rugby, like American football, is a contact sport with a lot of tackling. However, unlike American football players, who wear a lot of padding and hard helmets to protect themselves, rugby players wear very little.
10. Golf – 450 Million Fans
Golf has an estimated fan base of about 450 million people worldwide, with the wealthy being the most enthusiastic. Golf first appeared in the 15th century in Scotland. Interestingly, the word golf is derived from the word “Kolf” or “Kolwe” in the Netherlands, which translates to “club”. Golf has a strong following in Western Europe, East Asia, and North America.
It is a club and ball sport in which competitors use various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course in the fewest number of strokes possible. The rules of golf define it as “playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.”
The most important thing to understand about golf is that it is about more than just the game on the course. A single round of golf takes hours to complete, so it can quickly become an all-day event. It’s played at a leisurely pace, allowing you to take in the scenery, soak up the sun, and socialize with others.
This article has provided you with insightful knowledge regarding the popularity of various sports. Sports are popular for a variety of reasons. Staying healthy, for example, is frequently cited as a reason to participate in sports. It is essential at all stages of life. It also helps to improve people’s personalities. When we participate in sports on a regular basis, our organs become more aware and our hearts become stronger.