The Most Popular Sports in the World

Sports and sporting personalities have grown to be very influential in the society. If you are wondering which are the popular sports in the world, then we have compiled this quick list for you.

(Lionel Messi)The Most Popular Sports in the World

The Most Popular Sports in the World

Sports play a significant role in society and its popularity is growing around the world. There are a variety of sports played in diverse regions and many more are cropping up. Now, ranking the most popular ones is no easy task.

Some of the common denominators in sport ranking include revenue generated, global fan base, TV viewership, social media presence, sponsorship deals, and TV rights deals among others. That said, we have compiled a list featuring the ones that stand a cut above the rest.

1. Soccer/Association Football

Soccer comfortably sits at the top of some of the most popular sports across a vast majority of continents. Perhaps it is European soccer that has big names in this sport. Soccer is also popular in South America, Africa, and pretty much in every part of the world. Soccer competitions are followed by millions and even billions of fans around the globe.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup, for example, attracted over 3 billion viewers across the world. Some of the popular competitions include the domestic leagues like the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and the FIFA World Cup.

Other soccer leagues and competitions that grab headlines include the La Liga, Bundesliga, and Serie A, MLS, Copa America, Euros, etc. As a result, big brands like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nike, Adidas, and Qatar Airways have struck deals with several clubs and players in the top leagues. It is estimated that there are over 3.5 billion soccer fans across the globe with most of them coming from Europe, Africa, Asia, and America.

2. Cricket

Cricket is another most popular sport in the world with an estimated fan base of 2.5 billion. This sport is however common in most parts of Asia, Australia, and Europe. The Cricket World Cup is the most viewed cricket tournament that garners more than 2.5 billion viewers across the globe. The 2019 Cricket World Cup attracted around 2.6 million viewers. Although the sport is male-dominated, the female cricket side is also on the rise.

3. Basketball

Basketball is another exciting sport that is popular across the U.S, Canada, China, Africa and the Philippines, etc. The fact that basketball harbors some of the most influential sports figures in the world makes it easy to drive social platforms like Twitter into a frenzy. The NBA is the most prestigious basketball league in the world with some of the most influential athletes like Lebron James, Stephen Curry, etc. It is estimated that there are over 2.2 billion basketball fans across the globe.

4. Hockey

Hockey is also a common sport in the world boasting an estimated 2 billion fans. Field hockey is highly followed in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia while Ice Hockey is popular in America and Canada. Both male and female hockey leagues receive significant attention and it is easy to see why top brands like Gatorade and Reebok sign deals with hockey teams and leagues.

5. Tennis

Tennis is another massive game in the world with an estimated 1 billion fans. This sport is popular in America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. You might know of the likes of Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and the likes. The biggest events in the Tennis calendar year are the Grand Slam tournaments i.e the French Open, Wimbledon, the US Open & the Australian Open.

6. Volleyball

Volleyball is another exciting and popular sport in the world. It is common in Asia, Europe, America, Australia, and some large parts of Africa. Globally, the game commands an estimated 900 million fans. Although it is not much televised like other sports, it grabs much attention on social media and has a following among loyal fans.

7. Table Tennis

It is estimated that the number of Table Tennis fans have increased to over 900 million since 2003. Most of these fans are drawn from Asia, Europe, Africa, and America. Just like Tennis, this sport is not given the most coverage but it has a good fan base. Some top brands including Autohome and Sports Master are known to sponsor many Table Tennis tournaments.

8. Baseball

Baseball is estimated to have around 500 million fans across the continents. A majority of these fans are from the U.S.A, Japan, Cuba, Canada, and the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless, it’s the U.S NFL that takes a lion share of these fans as it is the most widely known baseball league in the world. Top brands like Mastercard and Chevrolet sponsor the sport that’s growing fast.

9. Rugby

Rugby is a sport that is rising in fame over the past years. Currently, the sport has over 450 million fans across the world with most of them drawn from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. The sport is now attracting top brands like Mastercard, Heineken, DHL, Toshiba, and Emirates, etc.

10. Golf

Golf is a popular spot in Europe, Asia, America, and Canada. It receives a lot in TV viewership, no wonder it boosts around 390 million fans across the globe. Its origin dates back to Scotland where it then spread to the UK and thereafter the rest of the world. It has some of the richest athletes in sports like Tiger Woods who has been the biggest name for decades.


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