8 Most Popular Sports Around the World
When it comes to assessing the popularity of the sport, there are many factors that need to be taken into account. Some of these include organizational fund allocation, the number of professional athletes playing the sport internationally, the number of people watching the sport worldwide, and the fan base and fan following of the sport. There are some sports that are quite definitively associated with their vast and varied fan following. Football, or soccer, is the foremost in that regard.
Here’s an overview of the top fan-based sports across the globe.
1. Football/Soccer: Football is one of the most popular sports in the world. A plausible reason for its attractiveness to the youth and its raging fan following globally could be that it requires minimal investment regarding equipment. A fairly democratic sport in nature, it is not difficult for one to pick up the basic technique of playing football. The FIFA World Cup that is held every four years has a large segment of the global population as its viewership. The FIFA World Cup in 2014 had a television audience of over 3.2 billion people, and it broke several, TV viewership records in major international markets, including the United States and Germany (source: www.fifa.com).
2. Basketball: Basketball is an immensely popular sport in North America and Canada, and one of the reasons for its large fan base is that it is a game of technique, strategy and agility. This combination makes it an exciting and action-packed sport to follow. As with football, it does not require a great investment regarding equipment.
3. Cricket: Cricket has a large fan base in many countries of South Asia, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and in Australia and England. The traditional five-day test series in cricket have given way to the more fast-paced 20-20 matches, thereby increasing the popularity of the sport across the world.
4. Tennis: Tennis is a very popular sport that involves a pair or two of players. An interesting facet of tennis is that the game is not restricted by a time limit (as with football; or as with the number of overs in cricket). The sport of tennis puts to test the stamina and the acumen of the player, which is why tennis players of international repute, such as Federer, Agassi, Sampras and Nadal, are so highly regarded. The number of estimated tennis fans around the world is nearly 1 billion (source: Sport Stardom).
5. Baseball: The equipment used for baseball is similar to that of cricket; however, the two sports are very different in nature. Baseball has a large fan base in the United States, and the professional players of this sport are paid handsomely. A major reason for its popularity is the sense of team spirit that it generates in the American population. More recently, baseball has become immensely popular in Asian countries like Japan.
6. Golf: Golf is commonly regarded as an indulgent sport that can be played solo and in a leisurely manner. A golf player’s performance remains unaffected by that of the other players, if one does choose to play in company. A golf course also makes for a quaint and picturesque backdrop to the golfer’s skill, which could be one of the reasons for its appeal. Golf as a sport came into existence all the way back in the 13th century in Scotland, which could account for its increasing popularity over the centuries.
7. Field hockey: Field hockey is a charged and action-packed sport that keeps fans and spectators hooked to the swift movements and developments of the game. The set duration of each match adds to the enthusiasm and excitement of the hockey matches. Hockey has a wide fan base of around 2.2 billion (source: Sport Stardom) across countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.
8. Table tennis: Also known as ping pong, table tennis is an action-packed sport that requires very little space and relatively modest equipment. This makes it easy for schools and recreational spaces to make provisions for people to play table tennis, therefore adding to its popularity and fan base. Table tennis is very popular in many Asian countries, with China being at the forefront. The sport is believed to have about 850 million fans around the world (source: Sport Stardom).