In the U.S. American football is arguably the most popular sport with the rising interest in “Fantasy Football” where Men and Woman create fantasy teams with players from the NFL and use their stats to determine winners. However it is Association Football known to many as Soccer that is the runaway winner for the most popular sport in the entire world.
A study by Mostpopularsports.net in 2014 found the fan base at approx 3.5 Billion fans Worldwide! With our estimated population at 7 Billion that means HALF of the World are fans of the sport. Of all sports it is one of the easiest to pick up, as it simply requires you to be able to run and kick the ball creating a minimal learning curve. As it is the most popular sport, it also has the most passionate fans by far. In fact, fans of the sport often go over the edge as it’s common to have fights at stadiums full over 100K people with competing squads. One thing many do not know is that championship teams are paid quite handsomely with the 2010 World Cup winner taking home a cool 30 Million. Real Madrid’s Renaldo cashed in with $17 Million not including bonuses. Not bad for a 25 year old…
When you look at how much revenue is brought in for teams, individual salaries, TV rights and upward trend Basketball narrowly takes the second spot over Cricket, which is wildly popular among fans as well. Basketball, with its expansion in European leagues and increasing American presences in countries like China where Stephon Marbury has resurrected his life and career propels Basketball to this slot on the list. With players like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and now Lebron James over the past 40 years there have been great stars to carry the torch with a host of other greatly talented players. In a questionable move in 1992 America decided to allow professionals to play in the Olympics as every other country does thus the “Dream Team” was created consisting of many top 50 all time Hall of Famers. Needless to say they were treated like rock stars traveling the world and the brand on their shoulders helping to gain popularity for the sport.
As mentioned, Cricket comes in a close third with Tennis in the fourth slot. Tennis has long tradition all over the World and comes as no surprise appearing this high on the list as many kids, couples, and even seniors play the sport.
Ice Hockey cracks the top 10 at 9 on the list beating out popular traditional American sports Baseball and Football that land at 11 and 12 respectively. Hockey is loved in countries like Canada, the Russian republic, Europe, and America as well.
While the U.S. dictates a great deal, clearly when it comes to sports other parts of the World have an influence greater than many might think. What are your favorite and top ten sports? List them in the comments sections…