Sports are an important part of our culture, it brings people together and even provide a temporary distraction from the stresses of everyday life. While sports greatly vary depending on the country or the region, some of them are popular all around the globe. Although it is quite difficult to estimate exact participation numbers for sports around the world, it is possible to give a general idea of some of the most participated sports using available research.
Read on to learn about the world's most popular sports and why they are so popular.
Top 10 Most Popular Sports In The World
Every person in the world watches at least one sport. It's maybe soccer, cricket or tennis. The popularity of sports can be measured in terms of fan following. The more popular the sports the greater the following across the globe. Let's have a look at the most popular sport in the world.
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 more than 200 countries and dependencies and has more than 4 billion followers worldwide. Every major football tournament is widely followed on various social media platforms.
Football is also some of the most renowned leagues in the world. Some of the most popular sports teams are Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. As a result, football makes waves in the world, particularly during the World Cup, which takes place after four years. In addition, football (soccer) is also among the highest-paid sports in the world.
2. Cricket - 2.5 Billion Fans
Cricket is the 2nd most popular sport in the world with over 2.5 billion fans around the world. The major places where Cricket is most prevalent are India, Pakistan, Australia, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, West Indies, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe.
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game that is played by 2 teams of 11 players. Each of the teams takes turns to bat, and their goal is to attempt to score runs. During each turn, known as an inning, one team bats while the other team fields. There are 3 different cricket formats, Test, One Day Internationals, and Twenty20.
3. Basketball - 2.2 Billion Fans
Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. With approximately 2-3 billion fans in the US, Canada, China, and the Philippines, Basketball is the 3rd most popular sport in the world.
You must have heard about the National Basketball Association, also known as NBA, in the United States. It is the main basketball league in the world, and it gathers some of the best players. Opposite to football, fans prefer watching the NBA over worldwide tournaments like the Olympic Games, where players are gathered by countries. This is because basketball is less competitive when you separate players by country since a few nations dominate the worldwide scene.
4. Hockey - 2 Billion Fans
The fourth most popular sport in the world is hockey. The game has a good reputation in Asian countries which include Pakistan, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia, and the Netherlands. The total number of fans is around 2 billion.
Hockey is divided into two very popular sports: field hockey during summer and ice hockey during winter. The goal of the two sports is overall the same though: 2 teams play against each other and have to pass a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal, with a hockey stick.
Both forms of hockey are major events in the Olympics. Field hockey is played on a field while ice hockey is played on an icy field. Comparing the participation of the country in the game, Field hockey is widely popular compared to Ice Hockey.
5. Tennis - 1 Billion Fans
The fifth most popular sport in the world is tennis. An estimated one billion people worldwide follow tennis, tuning in from around the world. In tennis, 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 on their opponents' side twice to score points.
To date, the tennis sector has experienced consistent expansion. Tennis is mostly appreciated in developed countries, sadly. The sport is historically reputed to be reserved for the upper classes, and this shows in the audience.
6. Volleyball - 900 Million Fans
With around 900 million fans across Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Australia, Volleyball is the 6th Most Popular Sport in the World. Volleyball receives a great deal of attention globally. However, it is less televised compared to other top-rated sports.
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules. It has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since 1964.
One popular variant of the game, known as beach volleyball, is played on sand with two people on each team, as opposed to regular volleyball, where there are normally six players on each team.
7. Table Tennis - 875 Million Fans
Around 850 million fans from Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas make Table Tennis the 7th most popular sport in the world. Its popularity in the United States is progressively increasing. When it comes to professional play, only countries like China, Indonesia, and Malaysia usually play this sport.
Table tennis, or ping pong, is majorly an individual sport, but it can be played as a team of 2. Players face each other on a small table with a net in the middle of it, and the goal of the game is very similar to that of tennis: they have to 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 publicized as other prominent sports tournaments, it enjoys a moderate number of social media followers and fans worldwide.
8. Baseball - 500 Million Fans
Baseball is number 8 in our list of top 10 most popular sports in the world. Major League Baseball (MLB), the pinnacle of baseball leagues globally, has about 500 million fans globally, it is one of the most watched sports in the United States. Baseball is popular in North America and parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and East Asia as well.
Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of nine players who take turns batting and fielding. The offense attempts to score more runs than its opponent by hitting a ball thrown by the pitcher with a bat and moving counter-clockwise around a series of four bases: first, second, third, and home plate. A run is scored when the runner advances around the bases and returns to home plate.
9. Rugby - 475 Million Fans
Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the world with 475 million fans. Rugby is most popular in Australia, Great Britain, France, New Zealand, South Africa and the Pacific Islands. There has also been exceptional growth in popularity in Argentina, Georgia, United States, Canada and Japan.
Rugby originated in England during the first half of the nineteenth century. After that, it became highly famous in Commonwealth communities. The big tournament in rugby brings top brands and significant funds for sponsorship. The game requires energy and power with pace to excel at the highest level.
In rugby, two teams try to kick, carry, or pass a ball over an end (goal) line to score points. Rugby is a contact sport involving a lot of tackling, similar to American football. But whereas American football players wear a lot of padding and hard helmets to protect themselves, rugby players wear very little protection.
10. Golf - 450 Million Fans
Golf has an estimated fan base of about 450 million people worldwide and is most popular among the riches. Golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century. Interestingly, the word golf is derived from the word "Kolf" or "Kolwe" in the Netherlands, which translates to "club". Golf is particularly popular in Western Europe, East Asia and North America.
It is a precision club and ball sport in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course using the fewest number of strokes. It is defined, in the rules of golf, 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 crucial aspect of golf to realize is that it is about more than just the game on the course. A single round of golf takes hours to finish, so it can rapidly turn into an all-day outing. It's played at a leisurely pace, allowing you to take in the surroundings, soak up the sun, and enjoy the company of others.
This article has provided you with great insights into the popularity of different sports. Sports are popular for many reasons. Staying healthy, for example, is often cited as a reason to play sports. It is critical at every stage of life. It also enhances people's personalities. Sports keep our organs aware and our hearts stronger when we participate in them on a regular basis.