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In search of most popular sports in the world we can go through one of the few common ways of mapping. In other words we can name or define our search as most watched sport in the world. In such case, we can try to measure the amount of fans around the globe for each type of sport.

There is also another famous option like considering most played sport in the world. In this case we will have much more difficulties. As we have to determine how many people are playing each sport, somehow. Again we have to sharply consider the average amount per country.

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Here we are accumulating the analysis that reflects about sports over media, off which people are mostly interested in ( most popular sports in the world ). Mostly we depend on specific data from around the world in 2016.  Regional popularity is considered for greater insight, where the fan base is located around the world.

Most popular sports in the World:

It is better here to proclaim that this list can be changed according to some related parameters. Again we are asking for your favor to believe the mere estimation.

10. American Football

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, football, american obsession, NFL
American Football ; image credit pixabay.com

Approximated number of fans: 400 million

Regional popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, America, Australia

In other words this game is commonly referred as the national obsession of millions of Americans. Most probably these millions have propelled the sport into the list of most popular sports in the world. Its impact is negligible outside of North America.

Analyzing many estimations from various sources, we conclude of around 400 million fans around the globe for this particular sport. But the surprise is, nearly half of the total are counted from the United States and Canada.

It is believed that American football was actually evolved from Rugby in the late 19th century. Mainly, the sport was seen as a club or collegiate sport. Then, in the year of 1920, everything had just changed after the establishment of NFL.

Generally there are two variants of this popular sport. One is the Canadian Football or the Canadian version. And the other one is well known as the Arena League Football. Mostly players are seen to move between these leagues at times.

Some historic teams: the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steele-rs, San Francisco 49ers

Previously said, most of the teams are from North America. But NFL is arranged every year in England and other countries of Europe via NFL Europe. Recently more and more Australian and African people are getting interested about the game. And still very fewer from the Asia. American Football is now at the 10th in the list of most popular sports in the world.

The sport is played by two teams of eleven players. The rectangular field is 120 yards long and 53.3 yards wide with goalposts at each end. Surprisingly an oval ball, which is carried on hand is known as the football. And the offense attempts to advance with the ball down the field. There are option of either running with the football or passing it through the posts. The offense must advance it at least ten yards in four downs to receive a new set of four downs. If they fail to continue, they have to turn over the ball to the opposing team.

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Top Soccer Superstars who never played World Cup

 9. Basketball

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, MVP, basketball, most watched, most famous
Basketball ; image credit pixabay.com

Approximated number of fans: 400 million

Regional popularity: America

Basketball developed in America in the late 19th century. Mostly Americans dominated the first century of the sport. Unfortunately the game has slowly spread throughout the world. But still, other countries like Argentina, Lithuania and Australia have developed great talent. They all have become competitive now a days.

Urbanization of the whole globe has strongly affected its growth everywhere. Probably basketball is one of very few sports that can be played in minimal space. And urban environment is always lacking a little more space. With 400+ million spectators around the globe Basketball is now at 9th in the list of top 10 most popular sports in the world 2016.

Winning MVP title is considered the most precious in the sport Basketball. Top talents from countries like France (Tony Parker), Germany (Dirk Nowitzki), Canada (Steve Nash) and Spain (Pau and Marc Gasol) are building their career in America. While those who are unable to make it into the American National Basketball Association (may be on the down slope of their career) are attracted to the other international leagues.

Some people claim, Basketball as the 3rd most popular sport in the world with 2-3 billion fans from US, China, Canada and Philippine. But please keep that for later proclamation. Now on, I believe we can go through our present conclusion.

Basketball is played on a rectangular court. There are two teams, each consisting of only five players. Both the team’s objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop. The hoop is 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.0 m) high, mounted to a backboard at each end. During regular play, a team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket. Field goal scores two games only for the shooting team. But if the player is outside the three point line and successfully shoots through the hoop, then it is three point counted. And at the end of the game, the team with the most of the points wins.

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8. Golf

 Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, popular games, sport, popular sports, most watched, golf

Golf ; image credit pixabay.com

Approximated number of fans: 450 million

Regional popularity: Europe, Asia, America, Canada

It is believed that golf started at the age of 13th century. But it wasn’t solidified as sport then. In Scotland, the sport was promptly banned by King James 2nd before the early 1400’s. People often say, this sport is possibly the only one where its home of origin is still used as a playing ground, the Old Course at St. Andrews has been used for the last 500 years for golfing.

The nature of competition in this game is very much indirect. May be that is another crucial issue for its potential amount of fans. Unlike all the other sports in the list, opponents are never face to face in contest with each other, which creates a lack of conflict or perceived competitiveness among them. In this very sporting arena American players are mostly dominant.

Some famous American golfers: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer

Now a days, a number of Asian countries have begun to catch up.

With more than 450 million fans from Europe, Asia, America and Canada, Golf is number 8 most popular sport in the world.

Golf is a precision club and ball sport. Competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course. They always have to try for the fewest number of strokes. In the rules of Golf, the sport is defined 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”.

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7. Baseball

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, baseball, most watched sport, most popular game
Baseball ; image credit en.wikipedia.org

Approximated number of fans: 500 million

Regional popularity: America, Japan

Baseball was basically developed from the game of rounder’s in England. This particular sport has one of the longest-standing codes of play. But you can also notice that the major rules have not changed since 1901. In the year of 1876, the National League (the first formal league) was founded. At that time it was consisted of American teams only.

The game is a direct competition of single players, commonly termed as the batter and pitcher. But this another team game. That’s this game can be considered as a very unique one. Recent times, the sport has developed fans across the world. It has become the leading spectator sport in Japan. Some of the Central and South American countries celebrate this popular sport as their national sport.

All of these countries frequently provide talent to the Major League Baseball. Now a days, Cuba is respected as a world power in this game. They have already won numerous Olympic Gold. On the other hands, the Japanese have won two out of three World baseball Classics.

Most successful and popular in America: the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals

There are around 500 million fans in US, Cuba, Japan and Dominican Republic. Baseball is now at 7th in the list of top 10 most popular sports in the world.

Baseball is another game played between two teams of nine players. One of the teams are selected for batting and the other for fielding. Both the teams attempt to score more runs than its opponents. The batsman has to hit the ball thrown by the pitcher with a bat. After hitting, he again needs to move counter-clockwise around a series of four bases, named as first, second, third and home plate. When the runner advances around the bases and returns to home plate, a run is scored.

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6. Table Tennis 

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Table Tennis ; image credit www.flickr.com

 

Approximated number of fans: 850 million

Regional popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, America

Table Tennis is that sport which is hugely popular in China. And gradually it is gaining acceptance in Europe. The sport is around not more than a century. But it was quickly adopted in mainland Asia.

Like soccer, part of the attraction of the sport is the ease of play and inexpensive equipment. The Chinese have been dominating the international play. Especially for the women. No non-Chinese woman or women team has ever gotten a gold in any international competition since 1992.

Now a time, Table Tennis have almost 850 million fans all-round the globe. Mostly from Asia, specifically China. These huge 850 million fans reassures its minimum 6th position in the most famous sports list ( most popular sports in the world ).

The sport Table Tennis is often called ping pong. The game is played between two or four players. A lightweight ball is hit back and forth using table tennis rackets. Makeshift nets are usually set up on a plank of wood. The simple wooden panel hard table is divided by the net. Except for the initial serve, players have to return the ball before the second bounce towards them, on their side of the table. Again he have to ensure the ball bounces on the opposite side.

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5. Volleyball

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, most watched sport, popular, volleyball
Volleyball ; image credit www.flickr.com

Approximated number of fans: 900 million

Regional popularity: Europe, Australia, Asia, America

Volleyball is one of the simplest sport, which is played almost all over the world. All you need to play the game is a ball and a net. You can play it anywhere, grass, cement or sand. The surface is very much negotiable. So, it is well predictable that the simplicity of this sport is mostly responsible for its global popularity. Especially you can feel lucky when you don’t need to worry about the surface selection.

Volleyball was first introduced into the Olympic Games in 1964. One variant of this sport, beach Volleyball was introduced in 1996. One interesting thing about this game is, there is no dominating country for long range of time. Traditionally, Volleyball has been evenly matched over the years. Numerous countries have won medals.

But the beach Volleyball is something, which is more popular in America and Brazil. So, naturally these two countries dominate the particular sporting arena. Recant time, these two have won probably 20 of possible 30 medals together.

Accumulating all the fans around the world, especially from Asia, Europe, Australia and America we can estimate 900 million for the sport. From our present consideration we remark the sport as 5th in the list of top 10 most popular sports in the world.

Volleyball is a team sport. Two teams of six players are separated by the net. Grounding the ball on the other team’s court is point. Each team tries to score under some organized rules. The game has been a part of the official program of Summer Olympic Games, started from 1964.

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4. Tennis

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, most popular sport, famous sports, watched most, tennis
Tennis ; image credit www.flickr.com

Approximated number of fans: 1 billion

Regional popularity: Europe, Asia, America

Tennis is considered as one of the top ranked sport now a days. The game features solo competition. Historians claim that the sport was originated before the 14th century. King Louis X of France built an indoor Tennis court for himself. Probably it was at the age of early 1400’s.

But the modern rules were introduced into the game at the middle of the 19th century. The game has never been truly dominated by a single person or country. We can easily figure out this by accounting the Number One Ranked player over the last ten years.

Across the Men’s and Women’s tours, 14 different players from 8 different countries have been representing the title. May be this is another cause of it’s being that much popular everywhere.

Famous Tennis Stars:
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova

With around one billion fans Tennis is now at no.4 at the top list of most popular sports in the world. And because of the spectators from Asia, Europe and America, Tennis is considered one of the most watched sport in the world.

Usually people play Tennis against a single opponent (singles). Sometimes it is played between two teams of two players each (doubles). A racket strung with cord is used to strike the hollow rubber ball. The ball is usually covered with felt. The opponents are separated by a net. The objective of the game is to play the ball into the opponent’s court in such a way that he/she is unable to return good.

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3. Field Hockey

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, famous, popular, most watched, hockey, field hockey
Field Hockey ; image credit www.flickr.com

Approximated number of fans: 2 billion

Regional popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia

The sport was developed both in Europe and Asia at the age of 3rd century B.C. in the 19th century England, modern rules were introduced into the game. The rules quickly spread out inside the English colonies.

In the mid-20th century, India and Pakistan dominated the sport. But the later part of the decade, Netherlands and Australia were seen to take over as the major force. Field Hockey is often seen as a female dominating sport in North America. Across the other portion of the globe it’s still considered as male-dominated.

Currently Field Hockey is the 3rd most popular sport on earth. According to 2015 statistics, around 2.2 billion fans from Europe, Asia and Africa prove the fabulous popularity of this sport.

Some people often call this sport a family game. Two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball into the opponent’s goal. The ball is actually a puck and it is driven by the hockey stick. Typically the Field Hockey or the Ice Hockey is referred to simply as Hockey in many areas.

Hockey is the National game of Pakistan and at third of most popular sports in the world.

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2. Cricket

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, most watched, cricket, famous, popular most sport
Cricket ; image credit www.flickr.com

Approximated number of fans: 2.5 billion

Regional popularity: Asia, Australia, UK, Africa

Thanks to the British Empire, cricket has spread across the globe. References from various sources indicate that it may have been played as far back as the 16th century. But it took a one more century to be fully completed and being codified. It was near around 1700’s.

Cricket is actually popular across through the ex-British colonies. We can name them particularly.

India and neighboring countries, Southern Africa, West Indies, the British Isles and the countries of Australasia.

The game is played with large teams and long range of time, sometimes up to 5 days in length. Previously and mostly matches are usually played by county or national teams. Though there have been some famous clubs across England, India and Australia.

In case of Cricket you can’t determine age old favorites. There is definite ups and downs in this sporting arena. Currently England Australia, India and South Africa can be considered as the top favorites.

The 2.5 billion Cricket fans are spread throughout the globe, mostly in Asia, UK, Australia and Africa. So, undoubtedly Cricket is at the 2nd position in the list of top 10 most popular sports in the world.

Obviously Cricket is a bat and ball game played between two teams, each consisting of 11 players. A 22-yard rectangular long pitch is taken inside a particular diameter round field. Both the teams take it in turns to bat. The batting team attempts to score runs, while the fielding team tries to defend them within as less runs as possible. Each turn is known as an innings.

Three different formats are played in Cricket.

Test Cricket (5 days), ODIs (1day), and T20 (around 4hrs).

It is believed, after introducing the T20 format, Cricket has gained a lot more popularity across the world as it takes less time with complete entertainment.

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1. Soccer 

 

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, most popular sport, most watched, famous, soccer
Soccer ; image credit www.flickr.com

Approximated number of fans: 3.5 billion

Regional popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, America

Finally we have tracked down the most popular sport in the world and no surprise it is Soccer. The simplicity combined with the ease of play makes this the most popular game. Another thing to reconsider that this is undoubtedly the most watched sport in the world ( most popular sports in the world ).

Somewhere this sport is known as the Football and somewhere particularly in America it is Soccer. But as we have already stated the Game American Football above, we are using here the term Soccer.

At the prehistoric ages there was a different version of the sport. Just kicking of a ball towards a target. But at the mid-19th century a proper code of rules and regulations was developed in the British Emperor.

The popularity of the game has created an incredibly rabid fan base. Almost every towns are growing their own clubs to call their own pledge allegiance. There is no particular powerful club or International teams. But according to some greater achievements we can declare some as top favorites.

Top favorite International Teams: Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy

Top favorite Club Teams: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, AC Milan etc.

So, Soccer is at the top of most popular sports in the world with almost 3.5 billion spectators or fans. These huge amount of fans are spread out in almost all the countries of Africa, Asia, America and off Corse Europe. There is an association of Soccer which is commonly known as FIFA.

Soccer is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. So many statistics claim that over 250 million players from 200 countries play this game. That’s why this is the most popular sport in the world.

In case of Soccer the field is rectangular with a goal post at each end. The objective of the game is to score goal at opponent’s post. Player can use any part of the body except the arms and hands. The goalkeepers are the only players allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms. But he would also have to be cautious about the penalty area, commonly known as the D box.

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Most Famous Sports in the World (Most Watched):

The concept of sports took birth at the ages back around 2000 BC. At that time, probably gymnastics was one of the most popular sports in the world as well as one of the first of its kind. Sports were simple games of endurance and skill in those days. In such prehistoric ages, sports were like some competition for the entertainment of the crowd.

Sometimes games played the role of training grounds too. And we all know, most of these sports had ritualistic meaning to their cultures, some were incredibly violent and deadly. The early Mesoamerican ballgame was one of these kinds.

And now at this very article we will attempt to conclude regarding the most viewed sports around the globe as the most popular sports in the world. We will simply try to determine the number of fans, most definitely which is estimated through participation and media coverage from each corner of this sporting earth. I confess, we are unwillingly relying on the existing data sets to arrive at the most accurate conclusion. But we can still hope that we are getting the result pretty good.

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Here we are listing the top 10 most popular sports in the world. And this list is developed after well enough web research, also from some authentic related sites. Almost all of these authors have acknowledged that they have taken into account the population of countries. And mostly depended on general surveys or discussions on the internet world.

List of top 10 most popular sports in the world:

rank Sport Estimated Fans Regional Popularity
1 Soccer / Association Football 3.5 Billion Europe, Africa, Asia, America.
2 Cricket 2.5 Billion Asia, Australia, UK.
3 Field Hockey 2 Billion Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia.
 4 Tennis 1 Billion Europe, Asia, America.
 5 Volleyball 900 Million Europe, Australia, Asia, America.
 6 Table Tennis 850 Million Europe, Africa, Asia, America.
 7 Baseball 500 Million America, Japan.
 8 Golf 450 Million Europe, Asia, America, Canada.
 9 Basketball 400 Million
 10 American Football 400 Million Europe, Africa, Asia, America, Australia.

In terms of fans, Soccer is clearly the most popular sport in the world. We can easily get the idea every four years, when it’s time for FIFA World Cup. Authentic information about the 2006 World Cup Germany, claims that over 30 billion people at that time watched that tournament. definitely this stat has been far changed now a days. Yes off course, I know the count is surprisingly more than the world’s total population. But the technique is presenting the figure as an accumulated audience, which means people are counted each time they watch more than one game.

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Most popular sport undoubtedly differs from country to country. Like, there are so many more other sports popular most in so many more other countries, not football. We can also find out that statistics too, for specific sports for specific country. But that’s another deal..

49 COMMENTS

  1. Once you discover indoor Badminton, nothing else matters. It has the kind of unique appeal no other sport has. You wanna talk spee, skill, athleticism, acrobatic prowess, high energy and t o t a l l y captivating. In fact, very few can reach the peak ability this sport requires.
    The rest are just spectator material, that’s why they have a ‘tamed or dumbed down’ version most play outdoors, lol! It’s a joke and nobody is laughing. That’s because a good joke is worth laughing at, not a bad joke!

  2. I’m not against the Cricket, but just tell me, What is the fun in watching a game that has been pre-fixed…Though it also have thrill but I like the game which give me Adrenaline Rush and I thing that what is the meaning of Sport.

  3. I don’t know what you are all talking about! It’s obvious that dominoes is the most popular sport, I never see anyone playing football, tennis or cricket in my local pub!

    By the way, when are we going to stop saying American Football and Soccer? The NFL should term their game in a more appropriate way like American Handball, or Rugby and call our game what it was originally named…….FOOTBALL!

  4. Hockey is the world best game because in play for 1 hour and have more existing than cricket . Football is 2nd best game of world . Cricket is the one of the most boring game of the world .

    • course it’s inaccurate … look there are more than 500M fans of basketball in asia only, mostly in china and russia and it’s not top sport in these countries… what about europe or usa, canada, south america? when you see golf, table tennis and volleyball above basketball, it says a lot how accurate this list is. I agree for football and cricket, rest of list is very bad blind guess.

  5. #Cricket is world best game in ever scene and ipl is world best cricket event of all time”!
    And #football is very very boring game ever!
    But tennis is good game”

  6. I think rugby league is the 2nd most popular game in the world stadium are full of people every match of 2015 world cup than cricket. in australia cricket stadium were not full of people except indian match

  7. I dad considered Scotland champions of the world when they won the winter Olympics for curling!!! FAir play dad but i consider myself as english and we won the world cup of football ha ha R.I.P.DAD LOVE YA BUD X

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