Sport’s popularity can be measured by several parameters including: most watched (the number of fans at the sporting events), most played (how many people are playing the game) or most interested in over the media. Some sports have been popular for a long time, but others gain popularity recently and are followed by millions of fans all over the world.
Here is the list of 10 most popular sports:
10. American Football (390 million fans)
The most popular sport in America presents a mix of soccer and rugby. Started playing between college teams, the first official game was played on November 6, 1869. After, it started to spread instantly across the country. In 1920, the National Football League (NFL) was formed, when the set of rules was defined. Now the American football is played all over the world and the Super Bowl final in 2016 with 116 million people watching was one of the most watched sporting events in history.
9. Basketball (400 million fans)
The basketball game was discovered in 1891 by James Naismith, a Canadian doctor, YMCA physical education instructor (Springfield, Massachusetts), who was searching for activities that will help his students to stay fit during the long winters. The game then arrives in Canada and after it started playing Worldwide especially in Europe.
8. Golf (450 million fans)
Scotland is the country where the modern golf started to be played first in 15th century. The game became more popular than archery and was even banned from King James II of Scotland. In 1860, Ayrshire, Scotland the first tournament was played and soon after the golf started to be played in North America where now is one of the most popular sports.
7. Baseball (500 million fans)
Games similar to baseball have been played in England and France before to been brought to America. Baseball is the national sport in several countries in North and South America like United States and Venezuela and in the last few decades has grown its popularity dramatically in Europe.
6. Table Tennis (850 million fans)
Table Tennis or Ping Pong, originally known as ‘Whiff-Whaff’ first was played in England and after was presented in many British colonies. In the last 50 years the game had become very popular in China and South East Asia. China has the best results and most of the 850 million fans are located there.
5. Volleyball (900 million fans)
Volleyball appears in 1895 in the United States close after the appearance of Basketball in order to provide indoor activity for older people requiring less physical energy than Basketball. During the World War One the American Forces distributed 16,000 volleyballs to their allies in Europe and the result was spreading the game significantly. Now days Volleyball is a very popular sport in Eastern Europe especially in Russia.
4. Tennis (1 billion fans)
In France, 12th century a version of tennis was played called ‘Jeu de Paume’ (Game of the Palm). King Louis X of France played the game and soon it became popular between aristocracies in Europe. Today tennis is played Worldwide and Wimbledon (the oldest tennis tournament in the world held in London), French Open (Roland-Garros), Australian Open and US Open, are the major annual international tournaments.
3. Field Hockey (2 billion fans)
Field Hockey game started to be played in 19th century in England, Scotland and Netherlands. In 1908 was presented as an Olympic sport and India and Pakistan are dominating in the game with the number of fans and titles won.
2. Cricket (2.5 billion fans)
Cricket begun to be played around 1610 in England before it was spread across British Empire especially in India and Australia. After it was established in New Zeeland, South Africa, United States and Canada and the first international match was between United States and Canada in 1844, seen by 20 thousand spectators. These days Cricket is the most popular sport in India and Pakistan where the most fans are located.
1. Football / Soccer (3.5 billion fans)
Around 200 B.C. at the time of Han Dynasty in China a ‘Kick Ball’ game was played very similar to football. The modern football was discovered in England, 1883 when the rules for the game were defined. Now day’s football is played in every country in the world, the players are highly paid and treated as gods. Every four years a World Cup is held where Brazil is the most successful country.