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Ten most popular sports in the world 

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What are the most popular sports in the world? Soccer and cricket might spring to your mind very easily as the most popular sports in the world. However, many other names on this list are likely to surprise you. 

Top Ten most popular sports

1- Soccer 

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. It is watched the world over with the number of its fans in billions. It is said that football has around 4 billion fans around the world. 

Soccer is especially very popular in Europe and African countries. However, the number of fans of association football in Asia is also increasing. There are also a huge number of football fans in South America and North America is the only continent where the sport doesn’t reign supreme. 

It might surprise you to know that around half the world’s population watches the FIFA World Cup which happens after every four years. It is said that more than 3.2 billion people watched the World Cup in 2018. This competition is by far the most watched sporting event in the world. 

The sport is played by over 250 million players in over 200 nations. The top five European leagues are the most famous in the world, namely the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 where many of the tallest soccer player show their skills.

Football players enjoy the highest salaries and so they are some of the richest among all the athletes.  The average salary of footballers who play in the top European Leagues is millions of dollars. Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the richest soccer players, has reportedly a net worth of $500 million. 

Interesting Facts About Soccer: soccer field size

2- Cricket 

Cricket is second on our list of the most popular sports in the world. It is said that over 2.5 billion people follow cricket around the globe. The sport is especially very popular in England, Australia, India and Pakistan. 

Unlike soccer, cricket is mostly played in series. However, some changes in the last decade have seen the sport played in T20 leagues like the IPL and PSL, etc. In cricket, the bowler takes a run-up to bowl and the batter has to hit that ball. It is interesting to know that the first cricket match in history was played way back in 1646. 

Cricket has three different formats – Test, ODIs and T20. The popularity of the sport has received a real boost after the introduction of the T20 format. It is the most watched sport in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and West Indies. 

3- Basketball 

The popularity of basketball has increased in recent times. It is the third most popular sport in the world, having an estimated 2-3 billion fans around the world. 

The sport is played by two teams, with each having five players, on a rectangular court. The purpose is to shoot a ball through a hoop, which is 18 inches in diameter and 10 feet high mounted to a backboard. A field goal is scored when a player shoots the ball through the basket. 

Unlike football and cricket, basketball didn’t start a long time ago and doesn’t boast a very rich history. The sport was created in the late 19th century by a physician and physical educator James Naismith. However, it has now grown into a global sport that is followed around the world. Basketball is greatly popular in the United States, Canada, China, and Japan. But it is also gaining new followers at a great pace. 

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in America and the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the most significant professional basketball league in the world. The other major international events are the FIBA Basketball World Cup and Men’s Olympic Basketball Tournament. 

4- Hockey 

There are two forms of this game – ice hockey and field hockey. Ice hockey is mostly played in the United States and Canada while field hockey is very popular in India and Pakistan. 

Hockey doesn’t have a huge fan following but its revenue is high. Its social media following is also relatively low but it boasts a dedicated streaming audience that listens in regularly. It is a sport in which two teams compete against each other by trying to maneuver a ball or a puck into the opponent’s goal using a hockey stick.

Field hockey enjoys good viewership in Pakistan, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia, and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Ice hockey is widely watched in the United States and Canada. 

5- Tennis 

Tennis is played by an estimated 60 million men and women worldwide, which makes it the most popular individual sport in the world. It can be played individually against a single opponent or between two teams of two players each. 

Tennis occupies the fifth spot in our list of the most popular sports in the world. It is said that the sport has around 1 billion fans in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Serena Williams is widely regarded as one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time

Tennis is an Olympic sport and is very popular around the world. The four Grand Slam Tournaments – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open, are the most popular events of tennis. They are watched and followed by millions of fans around the world.

6- Badminton 

It might surprise you to know that badminton is also one of the most popular sports in the world. It is played using racquets to hit a shuttlecock across a net. The game was developed in British India from battledore and shuttlecock. 

A huge majority of people play badminton around the world. It is said that around 220 million regularly engage in this sport. It is especially very popular in Asia where many of the greatest players of the sport originated from. 

7- Volleyball 

Compared to the other sports that we mentioned earlier, volleyball is not as popular. However, it still boasts around 900 million fans across Asia, Europe, Australia and America. And that’s why it is the sixth most popular sport in the world. 

Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams, each comprising six players, compete against each other. 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 Summer Olympic Games since 1964. The volleyball event at the Olympics is watched by a great many fans on television around the world. 

Volleyball also has a huge number of amateur players in the world. There are hundreds of thousands of amateur players in the sport in almost all the countries of the world. The FIVB Volleyball Championship is the biggest competition in this sport. And it takes place every four years. 

8- Table Tennis 

The seventh most popular sport in the world is Table Tennis. It is said that the sport has around 850 million fans from around the world. In this sport, players hit a lightweight ball back and forth using rackets. It takes place on a hard table, with a net placed in the middle. Except for the initial serve, players must allow a ball played towards them only one bounce on their side of the table and must return it so that it bounces on the opposite side. A lot of people engage in this sport as a hobby. There are also amateurs in Table Tennis. 

It is more popular as a hobby than a professional sport. And the average salaries of professional players aren’t very high. While the television viewership of this sport is not very high as well. Most people watch it during the Olympics and other major international events. Its biggest event is the World Table Tennis Championship which is held every two years. 

9- Baseball 

Baseball is known as the national pastime of the United States. It is also one of the most popular sports in the world. Baseball was previously regarded as the most watched sport in America. However, football has recently overtaken it in terms of popularity. It is said that there are around 500 million fans in the United States, Cuba, Japan, and the Dominican Republic of baseball. This game is played between two teams, each having nine players, who take turns batting and fielding. The biggest tournaments of this sport are the Baseball World Cup and World Baseball Classic. 

10- Rugby 

Rugby also has millions of followers around the world. It is said that rugby is the ninth most popular sport in the world. This sport is widely played in France. However, South Africa, Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga are other countries where it is very popular. It has also a strong fan base in Australia, England, and New Zealand. 

There is a large television viewership of this sport in the Rugby playing nations. The average salary of Baseball players in the MLB is more than $4 million. The Rugby World Cup is its biggest competition, which takes place every four years. 

If you have liked reading our list of the most popular sports in the world, then you will also likely enjoy the most attractive NFL team logos piece. 


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