Top 9 Most Popular (Viewership or Fan Base) Sports In World

Every sport began as a leisure activity and gradually gained its professional value.

Today, the sports world is one of the most rewarding career streams. To your surprise, on average, a national level player, regardless of the sport they enrol with, earns around £32,500 annually.

Whoa, that’s a lot of money.

You can even rank several sports based on the average income of the players. However, when it comes to identifying the most popular one, the task is not so easy.

In this article, we have tried to consider several factors, including TV audience and attendance, to measure the most popular sports in the world.

Soccer or Association Football

When it comes to the most popular sports globally, association football has to be on the list. Or perhaps, it tops the list.

To your surprise, Football has been gaining a lot of audiences, especially in the last decade.

Soccer or Football has the largest fan following in the world, estimating over 3 billion viewers.

The most significant organization, which is also believed to be the most crucial in popularizing the game, is FIFA. Of course, it has to be FIFA. After all, it is the largest sporting event globally, clocking more revenue than the Olympics per day.

Football is played in more than 200 countries.


Cricket bags between 2-3 billion fans globally. Out of these, over 2 billion are from Europe and South Asia alone.

The sport is also popular in other regions, including Australia, Southern Africa, South America, and parts of North America.

To your surprise, Cricket is the second most endorsed sport in the world, after Football. As per a spokesperson from a cricket equipment Maidstone manufacturer, the sport is popular among both professionals and amateurs. And likewise, the endorsements are also popular with both.

The prominent organization that governs the sport is ICC (International Cricket Council), which also happens to be one of the older sports organizations in the world.

ICC hosts Cricket World Cup every four years, which happens to be the sport’s biggest competition. ICC also introduced a shorter format for the same known as ICC T20 World Cup, which is held once every two years.


With an estimated fan following 2.2 billion, Basketball is the third most popular sport on the planet. The United States is often referred to as the home of this sport.


Well, the country alone has more than half a billion followers of the sport. Now that’s massive popularity!

The best part about this sport is it can be practised almost anywhere, unlike Football and Cricket that require bigger playfields. For example, you can practice it in your backyard, driveway, or even in your room.

The largest organization NBA (National Basketball Association), is also native to America. In fact, it is one of the four major leagues in all of America, including the USA and Canada.

Field Hockey

One of the oldest sports, dating back to the 3rd century BC, Field Hockey is the fourth most popular sport globally, with an estimated fan base of 2 billion.

Field Hockey is enjoyed across Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Besides, it is acclaimed as their national sport by three countries – that’s unusual.

Hockey is the national sport of China, Malaysia, and Pakistan.

Like Basketball, Hockey can also be enjoyed on almost any surface ranging from turf to asphalt. But notably, professional Field Hockey is preferably played on turf.

But, unlike Basketball (and like Cricket and Football), Hockey requires a large playfield.


Bagging the fifth position, Tennis has around 1 billion viewers and fans globally. However, it is more popular with Europeans, Americans, and Asians primarily.

Tennis leaves behind other sports like Cricket and Football when it comes to age. Meaning, the sport has been around for nearly 900 years now.

The four biggest competitions, namely – Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open, are watched and followed by millions of fans worldwide.

To your surprise, Tennis superstars are amongst the top paid sports personalities in the world.


Volleyball ranks sixth on the most popular sports in the world, with 900 million fans globally.

The rules are pretty simple- the match is between two teams of six players, each separated by a net. Each team has to score points by grounding the ball on the other side of the net.

The biggest volleyball championship is the FVB volleyball championship, held once every 4 years. 24 countries participate in this global championship.

Table Tennis

Next comes Table Tennis – an indoor table and ball game. It is enjoyed both as a single-player or duo on each side of the table.

The sport has a fan base of 850 million worldwide and is quite popular with almost all countries as an amateur sport.

Although there are no professional leagues or federations for the sport, almost every country has its national federation.


With a fan base of 500 million, baseball is primarily popular with an American audience. However, it is also gaining traction in other regions of the world.

For example, Japan and Southern American countries are also active participants in the sport.

When it comes to professional leagues, baseball tops table tennis. Baseball World Cup is held regularly every year.

American Football or Rugby

Last but not least is American Football or Rugby with a global fanbase of 410 million.

Although it is called American Football, the sport is popular with Western European countries too. Spain and France are two of the most active followers of the sport, after the US.

The biggest competition, Rugby World Cup, is held every 4 years with participants from 20 countries.

The list does not end here. Hundreds of other sports are pretty famous all around the world. For instance, Golf, Boxing, and Wrestling are also quite popular with millions of fans worldwide. However, these sports are more limited to certain fan groups differing based on economic class and lifestyle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *