What Are the Most Popular Sports in the World?


What Are the Most Popular Sports in the World?

Whether you’re playing sports, watching sports, or driving the kids to sports, sports are universally acknowledged to be a pretty good time. When you think of sports, you probably think of football, baseball, and basketball—and don’t get us wrong, they’re right here on the list too—but if you expand your search to worldwide sports, things start getting really interesting!

Today we’re counting down the 10 most popular sports in the world, with a contentious number one placement going to a sport that might surprise you…

10. American Football

Hey, look! Here’s football, right at the top (bottom?) of our list! Don’t misunderstand, we love football—tailgates and football parties are both perfect settings for a friendly game of Cornhole—but football’s estimated 410 million fans simply can’t touch the rest of the sports on our list.

9. Baseball

Another surprising placement! Despite being one of the holy trinity of American sports (and being a very big deal in Japan!), baseball’s estimated 500 million fans is barely enough to crack the top ten. A fun fact about baseball is that it still maintains high ratings for live games but has very low streaming and live audience numbers.

8. Table Tennis

Yes, you read that right! Table tennis earned this spot on the list with an estimated 850 million fans! Part of its extreme popularity can be traced to how accessible it is to play: people of all different ages, fitness levels, backgrounds and skill levels can play table tennis with enough skill to achieve considerable success within the sport.

volleyball7. Volleyball

During the Olympic Summer Games, Volleyball is one of the most-watched sports. It’s also unique on this list because volleyball is viewed in most countries, so its estimated 900 million fans are more evenly distributed throughout the world than most other sports.

6. Badminton

If you’re surprised by this entry, you must not be one of the estimated 220 million badminton players or one of its estimated 950 million fans. Check out a game sometime, especially if your main knowledge of badminton comes from the games you used to play at the family reunion when you were a kid!

For an especially intense game to watch, take the time to seek out badminton played in an Asian country—that’s the continent where most of the greatest players of the sport started out!

5. Tennis

Getting back to sports you probably think of as “real sports,” tennis has an estimated 60 million players worldwide and an estimated 1 billion fans.

It’s a unique sport because matches can be played as singles (an individual playing against a single opponent) or doubles (two teams of two players playing against each other). It can be played with even more players on a team against another team that might have a different number of players (if your kid’s tennis practice gets mutinied by the kids).

4. Hockey

Have you ever gone to a fight and saw a hockey game break out? (Sorry! Dad joke alert!) Hockey’s estimated 2 billion fans are made up of ice hockey fans in the United States and Canada and field hockey fans in India and Pakistan.

Hockey is a sport where you work with the environment you have to play (and watch) the game you love! If you remember the fun fact about baseball above, hockey is kind of the opposite: hockey has a large and dedicated streaming audience that listens to games, compared to lower numbers for its live viewing audience.

dribbling-basketball3. Basketball

It’s one of the youngest sports on the list and basketball has already come so far, breaking into the top three! Invented in 1891 by Springfield College instructor and graduate student James Naismith, basketball’s estimated 2.2 billion fans are mostly located in the United States, Canada, Japan, and China. And the fandom is growing!

Basketball is estimated to soon overtake football and baseball as the most popular US sport! If basketball can see such explosive popularity growth so quickly, that means it’s possible for any fun and popular sport to get the recognition it so richly deserves!

2. Cricket

What is cricket? Well, it’s extremely popular with an estimated 2.5 billion fans, most of them in England, India, Pakistan, and Australia. Other than that, we know two teams are involved, and a bat, and a huge circular field. It’s also just close enough to baseball to be extremely confusing to watch if you do know something about baseball but don’t know anything about cricket. Check it out some time: it’s seriously compelling to watch!

1. Cornhole!

Yes, that’s right, it’s our favorite sport in the world and yours, Cornhole. Better than hockey, better than basketball, completely and indisputably better than cricket. For once and for all we can finally acknowledge the undeniable worldwide popularity of the game we all know and love! Release the balloons! Throw the confetti! Crack open a cold one and get ready for a Cornhole victory celebration the likes of which you’ve never seen before!

Wait, pause the celebration! I’m sorry, I’m being handed a note with updated information right now live on this blog.

1. Soccer/Football

We regret to inform you that the most popular sport in the world is actually soccer, or “football” if you’re not in America—so you can also claim the top spot, football fans, but only on a technicality.

Soccer’s estimated 3.5 billion fans worldwide were simply too much of a match for our favorite classic backyard game to prevail or any of the other sports on this list! The only strategy that might work is trying to form alliances with all the other sports fans lower down on this list in the hopes of growing our numbers enough to one day attack and dethrone soccer from the top spot as the most popular sport in the world.

If you agree with our very reasonable opinion that Cornhole should obviously be the most popular sport in the world, you can help increase its popularity at your next party by showing off your brand new custom Cornhole set—with graphics designed by you! Simply fill out our custom design request form, and our digital artist will get to work on your design.


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