Everyone has a favourite sport they love due to reasons of their own. The debate of which is the most popular sport is an old one. Every now and then, sports personalities make a list of the most watched sports. But, it is not possible to finalise on one as tastes differ. A number of factors are considered while making the list like TV viewers, global following, the revenue generated by the sport, the stability of the sports system, social media presence and so on. Take a look at such a list made on the basis of these factors.
Football / soccer:
It is not a surprising fact that football is the most loved sport worldwide. It is found that every continent has about four million fans supporting the sport bringing it to the top of the list. The main hub of football is Europe where a lot of this sport is played. A number of football competitions happen here, the biggest being the UEFA Champions League in which the clubs compete for cash and silverware. All the participating teams get prize money which amounts to a total of $1.5 billion. This is the highest amount given for any sports competition ever.
Even though no other sport comes close to the popularity of football, the second place goes to cricket. Around the world, there are about 2.5 billion fans for cricket. The regions where the sport is most played is South Asia, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. In these places, cricket is played on both professional level and street level. An interesting fact about crocket is that the rivalries of nations like India and Pakistan increases the viewership of the game played between these two countries.
Field hockey grabs the third place in the list of most popular sports with a fan following of 2 billion people. The sport is more loved by the people of Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Hockey is the national sport of certain countries and is the most popular in countries like India, Pakistan, Malaysia and China. Previously, hockey was widely played in these countries but, not anymore. The reason for this is that at professional level there are not many opportunities for the sport like in other games like football and cricket.
Tennis is the fourth most loved sport with a fan following of 1 billion people. It is the first individual game that has made to the list unlike the above mentioned games. The largest tennis competitions being held are the four grand slams. The specialty about tennis is that the game has gender equality. In most of the other sports, women’s competitions do not get enough attention as got by the men’s. On the contrary, all tennis competitions, whether played by men or women, have equal prize money and significance.
Volleyball comes fifth in the list. Being a simple game, it is the favourite of many people. Developing regions like Poland, Korea, Turkey, France, Italy, Brazil and many other countries of Europe and Africa have fan huge following for this sport. People of some of the Asian countries like Japan and China also play this game. With a fan following of 900 million, the game has more than 200 registered national federations, more than any other sport has.
Table tennis can be considered as an indoor game much similar to the real tennis that is played outdoors. Many people play it as a hobby as it is an interesting game. But, there are not much professional platforms available to show your talent in the game. On a professional level, table tennis is played in countries like India, China, Indonesia and Malaysia. The fan following of the game comes to around 850 million.
Although not many countries in the world have people who know to play baseball, it is a very popular game in countries like USA and Japan. Here, this game is even played at the street level. From a young age, children start playing baseball and many of them pursue it as a career. USA and Japan have the biggest leagues of baseball in the world named MLB and Nippon league respectively. Fans line up to buy tickets of these leagues more than any others.
Golf is commonly known as the game for riches. It has numerous professional platforms in the developed countries like United Kingdom, Japan, South Africa, USA and Korea. Even though it is the eighth most popular sport, it gives the highest prize money to the players and generates the highest amount of revenue. Around the world, about 450 million people follow this sport. It is often seen that most of the professional golfers work as teaching professionals and only take part in local competitions.
The United States is considered as the home of basketball which is a non-contact team sport. It comes ninth in the list with a fan following of 400 million people. Previously, the popularity of the game was restricted to US. But today, the game is spreading to more and more countries and has a chance of becoming the best loved sport in the coming years. When it comes to money, basketball stands second in the average salary of a player which comes to about $4.4 million a year. Big stars get better payments like $25 million a year. The National Basketball Association or NBA is considered as the highest professional level of basketball and is very popular among its fans.
American football and basketball are in a tie when it comes to fan following. Both these games have 400 million people as followers. They have originated in the United States and are more popular in the home country than any other place. NFL which is the most popular league of American football is played here. Annually, the revenue generated by the game comes to around $10 billion.