What are the most popular sports in the world? Almost everybody knows that the most popular sport in the world is soccer but what are the 5 most popular sport in the world? let us have a look to find out what are they.
There is no arguing that football is by far the most popular sport in the world. Boasting a fan base of more than 4 billion people beats the other popular sports by a significant margin.
It’s not just the huge fan following that makes it popular; football makes it into the list of top 5 sports by every criterion.
The only real debate is what gets to be the second most popular sport. For some, it might be cricket; for other tennis. But before we discuss what sports are popular, let’s first understand the standard of popularity.
WHAT MAKES A SPORT POPULAR?
Ask someone, what is the most popular sport in the world and they will brag on and on about their favorite sport. It shows their passion for the game but does not answer the question: What is the most popular sport in the world?
A lot of factors come into play to decide the popularity of a sport. Everyone has their view of their favourite and least favourite sport, which makes it all subjective. To judge the popularity of a sport, you need to get rid of biases and prejudices.
In this article, the popularity of a sport is judged by following specific criteria, which include fan following, TV viewership, revenue generation, ease of play, and playing countries.
What is the most popular sport in the world #1
Football, or as Americans call it, soccer, is one of the most popular sports globally. Football features a marvellous display of teamwork, dedication, and passion. It is the drama, the last moment excitement and anger that makes it a treat to watch.
If you ask a random person, “what is the most popular sport in the world?” There is a 50% chance that they will say football. Out of 7.9 billion people on earth, 4 billion of them are passionate about football.
That is more than half of the world’s population! Unlike other sports fans, football followers are characterized by their passion and hatred towards the deserving team.
FIFA world cup is the single most-watched sports event in the world. The world cup of 2010 and 2014 attracted an average of 3.2 billion viewers. While 1.1
billion people watched the final of the 2018 world cup. Popularity is on the rise, and new records of viewership are being made in every world cup.
What is the point of being famous if it ain’t making money, right? Luckily, the most-watched sport in the world is also the most profitable one. Europe receives a large chunk of revenue generated through the soccer market.
Union of European Football Association(UEFA) is the administrative body for soccer in Europe. It organizes football leagues at national and club levels. In the 2018-19 session,the UEFA champions league, a club-level competition, generated 2.8 billion euros.
Fédération International Football Association (FIFA) is the highest administrative body of football with over 200 member nations. It aims to support poor football playing nations. And promote the game in every way possible.
It organizes the World Cup once every four years. Out of 211 football-playing nations, only 32 make it to the World Cup. The2018 World Cup generated around 4.6 billion dollars in revenue.
This answers two questions. What is the most popular sport in the world? Football. What is the most profitable sport in the world? Football, again.
EASE OF PLAY
The accessibility of football is what makes it a popular sport. You must have kicked a can or a plastic bottle at some point in your life, right? Other sports require a playing field and have weather restrictions. Football has no such bounds. It knows no such limitations.
Even if you are running short of a soccer ball or a football field, you can still experience it with a plastic can in the street.
Football is played in almost all parts of the world which speaks for its popularity. It is dominant in most European countries, namely France, Germany, the UK, and Italy. It is also followed religiously in brazil and Argentina.
Football’s popularity is also increasing in Asia. With the 2022 FIFA world cup being held in Qatar, it will spike the interest of other middle-east countries.
WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR SPORT IN THE WORLD? #2 BASKETBALL
For an American, the answer to “what is the most popular sport in the world?” will be either basketball or baseball. Basketball is indeed the fastest-growing sport in the world.
And once popular in only America, it is now taking the world by storm. But it is still just the most popular sport in America. It has a long way to go before it becomes the most popular sport in the world.
Basketball has just over a billion fans all around the world. Most of these people are from the United. The states of America and a lot more from the Philippines.
Basketball has a bright future, particularly in America, as 24 million kids aged 6 are active basketball players. Thus, the future of basketball is in safe hands.
NBA is the most prestigious basketball event. It beats every other basketball league in terms of revenue and brand value to viewership. In
2020, despite the covid-19 hit, 3.4 million people watched NBA, which broke the 8 years old record. NBA is followed by Liga Endesa, which is another famous national basketball league of Spain.
NBA, being the best basketball league in the world tops the revenue generation category. Just the average brand value of participating teams is approximately 2.12 billion dollars. Top-notch players’ income can be as high as 75 million dollars a year, which is the combined total of salary and endorsements.
EASE OF PLAY
Basketball is easy and fun to play. But it is a highly selective and competitive game. Height is the single most crucial factor. As long as you are over 6 feet tall, you have a bright basketball career ahead of you.
Basketball is more prevalent in America than anywhere else in the world. Moreover, it is also gaining popularity in countries like Spain, turkey, and China.
WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR SPORT IN THE WORLD? #3 CRICKET
Cricket is often compared with baseball. Because both involve a bat and a ball, cricket is way more popular than baseball despite some striking similarities.
Because unlike baseball, whose popularity is restricted to America, cricket is more global.
In the subcontinent, if you ask someone, “what is the most popular sport in the world?” They will be like,” of course, it’s cricket.” They would even argue that it’s not just a sport; it is a religion.
More than 2 billion people follow cricket. And India and Pakistan constitute a significant part of that. In the Indian subcontinent, no sport is more popular than cricket. Cricket is nothing short of religion there.
And it is in the same Indian subcontinent that the greatest cricket rivalry exists. The second most popular rivalry is between Australia and England. The contest between them is termed The Ashes.
ICC Men’s Cricket World Cupis the most significant event in the cricket world. The third most-watched competition lagging behind rugby and the FIFA world cup. Men’s cricket world cup2019 attracted 1.6 billion viewers worldwide.
Exhibition matches are being played in countries that are unaware of the existence of cricket, particularly the United States.
These matches aim to spark interest in the local population so that one day in the distant future, the answer to “what is the most popular sport in the world?” changes to cricket.
It’s quite surprising to see that a national event is more popular and profitable than the official international cricket event. Indian premier league (IPL) is a yearly cricket event held in India. As of 2020, the value of IPL has estimated at around 4.4 billion US dollars, which is more than any cricket event. The biggest brand of IPL Mumbai Indians has a brandvalue of 70 million US dollars.
EASE TO PLAY
Cricket is a fun game to play. It involves athletic activities and strategic thinking. So, it is a good sport for brawns as well as brains. All that is required is a bat and a ball, and you are all set to enjoy the gentleman’s game.
One hundred four cricket-playing nations exist, which are official members of ICC. It is a dominant sport in India and Pakistan. It is also a massive deal in countries like England, Australia, and South Africa.
WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR SPORT IN THE WORLD? #4 RUGBY
Who would have thought that the discussion of “what is the most popular sport in the world?” would include rugby. Rugby has its origin in England. It has excellent overlap with American football and soccer. For an outsider, it may seem like a blend of these two sports – only more brutal.
Rugby union, or simply rugby, has a rapidly growing fan base. In2019, rugby had 877 million followers, 11% more than the number of fans in 2018.
Rugby World Cup is mainly responsible for this positive trend. World Cup was held in Asia to increase rugby’s popularity in the continent.
It is the significance of the World cup and other events of a sport that determine its popularity. And the numbers are in favour of rugby. Like most popular sport, rugby world cup also follows the same four-year cycle.20 national teams take part to ensure the success of the event.
In 2019, the rugby world cup (RWC) set new broadcast records. Atotal of 857 million watched rugby in action, which marked a 26% increase thanthe last world cup. Most of the viewership of rugby comes from the five nations, namely England, France, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.
EASE OF PLAY
Rugby is one of the most dangerous games in the world. It is a brutal contact sport with a high risk of injury and concussions. However, recent efforts have made it safer than it was years ago.
Rugby is played by 101 nations, with England being the top one. Other than England, rugby is also popular in Scotland, Wales, Finland, France, Fiji, and Italy.
WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR SPORT IN THE WORLD? #5 TENNIS
Ever played tennis on Snapchat? Its popularity is more than just a Snapchat game. It is a good leisure activity to blow off some steam. In a discussion on what is the most popular sport in the world, the tennis may not be the first choice.
But Serena Williams and Roger Federer, two of the most successful tennis players, are a household name, which speaks for the popularity of tennis.
US, French and Australian Open along with Wimbledon constitute the four big tennis events. However, the numbers of these grand slam tournaments are not public.
But the US Open, in 2018, is reported to have made 380 million dollars in revenue. Though the numbers aren’t as big as football or basketball, tennis is still a highly profitable market.
EASE OF PLAY
If you have a pair of rackets and a bouncy tennis ball, then you can play it almost anywhere. No nets? Don’t worry. Just set up an imaginary outline of a net.
Unlike some contact sports, such as football and basketball, tennis is very safe to play. Proper technique and exercise can reduce the already minimal risk of injury it poses.
Tennis is a great workout as well. You have to run around in the court and aim at the incoming ball. It improves hand-eye coordination. It uses nearly every muscle of the body, making it a great exercise to build stamina and strength.
The international tennis federation (ITF) is the governing body of tennis. Twelve tennis-playing nations joined hands to lay the ITF foundation, then known as International Lawn Tennis Federation. That number has now increased from 12 to 211.
Wimbledon is the most prestigious and oldest event in the tennis world. First Wimbledon dates back to1877, and its popularity and viewership have increased ever since. In 2018, the combined total of people who tuned in to watch Wimbledon on ESPN and BBC was 29 and 26 million, respectively.
What is the most popular sport in the world? Facts and figures are, no doubt, in favor of football. And its popularity is not decreasing anytime soon. So, that makes the second place a prestigious spot for any sport to occupy.
That being said, every sport is famous for different reasons, but one thing that every sport has in common is health benefits. The inclusion of the sports mentioned above in your routine will profoundly affect every aspect of your life.