The history of sports and games is thousands of years ago. From ancient Greece from where we get the Olympics to China where we get football, sports have been played in all sorts of forms in all different types of communities and cultures.
Some of the ancient sports are still played in their modified form even today. Since time immemorial, people have been awed and inspired by extraordinary human beings who are able to perform tremendous athletic feats.
Sports are popular all over the world, but the determining factor as to what makes a sport popular is a challenge. TV viewership, attendance counts, income generated etc. The world’s most popular sports have had a profound impact on the lives of players and viewers. Below is a comprehensive list of the top ten most popular sports in the world today.
1. Football [3.5 billion]
Football or soccer, has always been a very popular sport and is currently the most popular sport in the world. It is also considered the most watched sport in the world. One of the most popular sporting events is the Fifa World Cup. Some of the most popular sportspersons in the world, Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo are football players.
2. Basketball [2.6 billion]
Basketball is currently the second most popular sport in the world, recently taking the spot away from cricket. The sport isn’t a very old one, emerging in the 19th century. Basketball is very popular in the USA, Canada and many European countries. The game has more than 100 leagues all over the world. The most popular basketball players in the world are LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Candace Parker.
Also Read: “Emotions are for movies not for basketball” Giannis Antetokounmpo gets brutally honest as Bucks drop Game 4 late in fourth quarter vs Celtics
3. Cricket [2.4 billion]
The most popular sport in the world, cricket, has landed in third place. Over 2.4 billion people in the world follow the sport. England, India, Pakistan and Australia are some of the countries where the sport is most popular. The first ever cricket match was reportedly played in 1646. Some of the most popular cricket players in the world are Virat Kohli, Christian Gayle, Don Bradman and Mithali Raj.
4. Tennis [2 billion]
Tennis lands on the list at number four. There are more than fifty professional tennis leagues played all over the world. It is estimated that the sport is played by over 60 million people worldwide. Some of the world’s most famous sportspersons such as Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka are tennis players.
Also Read: Top 15 longest winning streaks in Women’s Tennis
5. Hockey [1 billion]
Ice hockey and field hockey are the two forms of this sport. Landing on the list at no.5, hockey is a game that has brought pride to India several times. Ice hockey is popular in the United States and Canada and field hockey is popular in India and Pakistan. Some of the most popular hockey players are Sidney Crosby, Victor Hedman and Hilary Knight.
6. Boxing [950 million]
One of the more brutal sports on the lists, at number six we have boxing. It has over 950 million followers all over the world. It is most popular in the USA, Mexico, and Japan. There are more than 50 international boxing leagues. One of the most iconic sportspersons in history, Muhammad Ali, is a boxer. The most popular boxer in India is Mary Kom.
Also Read: “Time to hang up my gloves” – Amir Khan bids an emotional farewell from the world of professional boxing
7. Volleyball [900 million]
At number seven on the ring is volleyball. Most popular in countries in Brazil, China, and Russia, it has over 50 leagues all over the world. Volleyball is one of the most watched events at the Olympics and has 900 million followers all over the world. Some of the most popular volleyball players are Misty May Trainor, Karch Kiraly, and Kim Yeon-Koung.
8. Rugby [875 million]
Rugby is the eighth most popular sport in the world, with over 875 million followers worldwide. The sport is said to have originated in around 1823 and was originally called harpastum. It’s very popular in the countries of the USA, England and France and the most popular players are David Pocock and Dan Carter. Soccer is the source sport for rugby.
9. Baseball [500 million]
Baseball is considered the national pastime of the USA and is at no.9 on this list. Surprisingly, baseball is the most-watched sport on Japanese television. There are over 10 international leagues for baseball and some of the most popular players are Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Bryce Harper.
10. Golf [475 million]
At number ten on this list is golf. Some of the richest athletes in the world such as Tiger Woods and Rory Mcilroy are golfers. Golf is said to have originated in 15th century Scotland but is also said to have some origin in China. The most popular leagues of golf are the PGA Tour, Ryder Cup and DP World Tour. Golf is very popular in countries like the USA and New Zealand.
In case you missed: