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Most popular sports worldwide (Ranked according to 10 factors)

One simply can’t understand the phenomena behind selecting the most popular sport in the world without understanding what sports mean for a person. How much is value in their eyes?

Sports play a very important role to keep a person healthy. From an early age where we consider sports as a fun activity, we play sports with our friends to enjoy our time.

As we move towards adulthood, we understand the importance of sports on fitness level. After realizing the worth, we add sports to our daily routine work.

On the basis of the most popular sports, Some take it seriously and become professional athletes to represent their country. Some just take it as a hobby or as a fitness ritual.

Even though everyone doesn’t become a professional player, the craze for their favourite game always remains the same.

People follow sports in many regions across the world. Sports are popular for their unique ability and different reasons in the world. Reasons like providing a dose of entertainment on match days. The joy of winning a tournament by their favourite team.

Now without any further delay let’s move on our today’s topic.

What are the most popular sport in the world?

The popularity of any sport depends on the viewership it generates overall. Although it’s quite difficult to estimate or give an idea of the exact participation number for every sport around the world.

One can simply give a general idea based on the available research data and criteria to select the popular sport.

Criteria used to rank most popular sport

The final result was conducted on the basis of 10 criteria. These criteria play a significant work in selecting the most popular sports in the world.

The following criteria are listed below:

  1. Global Fan Base and Audience
  2. Viewership on TV and Tv right deals
  3. Access to the General Public
  4. Relevancy of sport throughout the Year
  5. The number of Professional Leagues in the World
  6. Average Salary of Athletes in the Top Leagues
  7. Sponsorship Deals
  8. Number of Countries in Which the Sport is Popular
  9. Popularity on the Internet
  10. The prominence of the sport in sports headlines on print and electronic media

I listed the top 10 most popular sports in the world by using the research data generated by the criteria.

Top 10 Most popular sports

#10. Golf- 400 Million followers

Golf stands at No 10 in popularity among other sports. In Golf, players use many types of cues to hit balls into a series of holes in the fewest number of strokes. Golf was originated in Scotland in the 15th century. Golf is popular in most parts of western Europe, North America, and East Asia. The major leagues for Golf are 4 including the PGA Tour and European Tour.

#9. American Football – 430 Million followers

With substantial 430 million followers, American football rank at 9. American football is also knowns as Football in America and Gridiron in some other countries. Their style of play is different from Fifa football. The American football match is played by two teams. It consists of 11 players on a rectangular field 120 yards long and 53.3 yards wide with goalposts at each end. The ball used in American football is Oval not round. NFL is the only renowned league in the US. Their average player salary is $1.9 million.

#8. Rugby – 435 million followers

Rugby is the 8th most famous sport grabbing 435 million fans. It is played in many parts of France and has a strong tradition in the people of Basque, Occitan, and Catalan.

The game is very popular and widely played in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It was introduced by English-speaking settlers in the 19th century.

Rugby has strong followings in Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga. The average salary of a rugby player is $60,000 per anum.

#7. Table Tennis – 870 million followers

With 870 million followers in the bag, Table tennis gets the rank 7 on the list. It is also called pin pong.

In this sport, two or maybe four players can play together. Players have to hit the very lightweight ball back and forth using rackets, specially designed to play table tennis.

#6. Volleyball – 900 million followers

The following of 900 million makes Volleyball the 6 highest popular sport in the world. It is a team sport. In this sport, Two teams consisting of 6 players are separated through the net.

Each team has to score points by grounding the ball on the other team’s court. Volleyball is a part of the Olympic games. The average player salary is $2-3 thousand dollars.

#5. Tennis – 1 billion followers

it is ranked at No. 5 on the list with the number of 1 billion followers in total. it is an individual sport. players play 1on1 against other players. It goes with two different modes, singles and double. Each player uses a racket to strike the hollow rubber ball. Tennis gets around 400 million viewership from TV. four grand slams are played every year. Out of 4, Wimbledon is the most prestigious one.

#4. Hockey – 2.1 billion followers

There are two types of hockey played on different continents (Iced and filed). It has a fan base in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and America.

Filed Hockey is the national sport of countries like India, Pakistan. Ice hockey is popular in Canada, the USA, and Europe. The average salary of the player is $3 million.

#3. Basketball – 2.2 billion followers

With approximate figures of 2-3 billion fans in the US, Canada, and other regions, it makes basketball the third most popular sport. Basketball is played on a rectangular court between two teams.

The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop (18 inches in height). Basketball is played in 4 quarters. Tam with the most points wins the match.

NBA sold the tv rights deal worth $24 billion for 9 years. Make $2.6 billion annually. The average salary of a player is more than $3 million.

#2. Cricket – 2.8 billion followers

Cricket is the 2nd most popular game in the world with a fan following of 2.5 to 3.5 billion. It is immensely popular in Asia, the UK, Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.

Cricket is a game of bat and ball. it is played between two teams, consisting of 11 players each.

There are three formats in cricket. ODI, TEST, and T20. T20 is the latest format and Test is the oldest. The first test was played in 1663. 1st ODI in 1970 and 1st T20 in 2005.

The match between India and Pakistan draws the most viewership. So far 12 ODI WorldCup had been taken place. Australia won the most (5).

Cricket gets 2.2 billion viewership on TV. The average player’s salary is around $50000.

#1. Footbal – 4 Billion followers

4 billion followers in the count, make Football the most popular sport in the world. It is not only the most popular sport but it is also the richest sport in the world. FIFA is governing body of football.

Football has its own league almost in every country. According to FIFA their top 5 major leagues in Europe includes Premier League, Laliga Santander, Bundesliga, Serie-A, and League 1.

Champions league is the biggest trophy at club level. On the international level, Fifa WorldCup is the most prestigious one. total 21 edition of Worldcup had been played so far and brazil won 5 ( most number of times).

The tv rights deal for FIFA WorldCup 2018 and 2022 is $1.85 billion.

RankSportEstimated FansRegional Popularity
10Golf400 millionEurope, Asia, America, Canada
9American Football430 millionUSA
8Rugby435 millionFrance, England, New Zealand, South Africa
7Table Tennis870 millionAsia, Europe, Africa, and Americas
6Volleyball900 millionAsia, Europe, Americas, and Australia
5Tennis1 BillionEurope, Americas, and Asia
4Field Hockey2.1 BillionEurope, Africa, Asia, Australia
3Basketball2.2 BillionUS, Canada, China, and the Philippines
2Cricket2.8 BillionAsia, Australia, UK
1Football4 BillionEurope, Africa, Asia, America

FAQs Regarding Most popular sports

Q. What is the most popular sport in the world?

A. Football, with 4 billion fans from all over the world.

Q. Most popular Indoor game?

A. Table Tennis/Ping pong.

Q. Which sports pay more?

A. NBA. average players salary of NBA players is $3 million.

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