There are entire subcultures online that like to joke about not being able to throw, kick, or catch a ball, or perform one of the thousands of athletic techniques. In spite of that, sports are still pretty much a thing, though we cannot always agree on which is the best. So, here are 5 of the most popular sports in the world, taking into account TV viewership, social media buzz, streaming, betting, and watching events live.
Not only is soccer over 200 years old, if we are looking at today’s format of the game, but it is also the most popular sport in the world with around 3.5 billion fans all over the globe. It is not uncommon for fans to travel to different countries to cheer on not only their country but individual soccer clubs. Soccer is so beloved that the culture and infrastructure of entire countries sometimes revolve around it.
The sponsorship deals with some of the biggest brands as well as the percentage of events when compared to other sports in betting parlors bear witness to soccer’s integration into the modern world.
It may be hard to believe, but cricket is not just a weird parent of baseball played only in the UK. While it did originate there, it has spread out into the countries that used to be British colonies, like India and Australia. Due to the high population in India, it is easy to see how a sport such as this one can amass around between 2 and 3 billion fans. Cricket is such a huge part of Indian culture and everyday life that there are underground bets and fixed matches, as well as entire police taskforces dedicated to busting organized crime set on making money off of this sport and the many leagues.
Basketball is not far behind cricket when it comes to the number of fans, in fact, the number of enthusiasts is about the same. It is loved most in the USA, Canada, the Philippines, and China, though there is a league or two in Europe that has produced world champions in the past. There is something universally adored about basketball that might stem from the fact that you do not need heavy-duty equipment to play it, much like with soccer.
Hockey has around 2.2 billion fans if we count ice hockey and field hockey as a single sport. Ice hockey is particularly popular in the US and Canada, while field hockey is the national game of Pakistan and it is very popular in India as well. The sport is moderately popular online and has a loyal following on TV, but it is somewhat modest when compared to basketball or soccer.
The only sport on this list that is not a team sport (if you don’t count doubles), tennis boasts a fan base of about 1 billion. The major competitions, like the four grand slams, are followed intensely on TV sets across the globe and every notable tennis player has loyal followers from many different countries. Since it is not a team sport, it is much easier to track the stats of individuals and to notice all the record-breaking that has been happening for the last several years.