Most Popular Sports in the World 2021 (Top 10 List)

Do you love playing sports? You might be wondering why sports are so popular. There are a number of reasons for this, like maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a reason for participating in sports. Some will tell you that they love doing sports for recreational purposes. The fun thing with sports is that it’s more popular with people who are not even directly playing or participating in them, rather, they enjoy being spectators. 

Most sports fans are still awed and inspired by exceptional human beings who are able to perform massive athletic feats. Now, some sports are passionately followed around the world. With that being said, we’re going to share with you the top 10 most popular sports in the world. 

1. Football (Soccer) 

Estimated Following: 4 Billion Fans

Football, also known as soccer in Canada and the US, is the number 1 popular sport in the world. It has an estimated following of 4 billion fans. Football originated in England in the 19th century just like some of the other sports we will mention on this list. However, there is history that points to people playing similar games as far back as two thousand years, starting in China. 

One of the best reasons why football is so popular is because you don’t need to use or own expensive equipment, all you need is a ball and your foot to play this sport. So, whether you’re rich or poor, you will definitely enjoy the sport. It is played all over the world, and every avid fan of this sport normally owns a classic football shirt. Football is dominantly popular in Europe, Africa, Central and South America. 

2. Cricket 

Estimated Following: 2.5 Billion Fans 

Cricket is a game that’s well-known in the UK and other previous British colonies, in particular, Pakistan, India, and Australia. It’s also similar to baseball which involves two teams, a huge field, a bat, and scoring runs. However, there are notable differences, such as a lengthy squared pitch at the centre of a cricket field, where the ball is pitched to a batsman, as contrary to a mound at the pile of a baseball diamond facing a batter at home plate. 

3. Basketball

Estimated Following: 2.2 Billion Fans 

Basketball is everywhere and it’s the 3rd most popular sport in the world. Most of the global fans are concentrated in the US, Philippines, Canada, China, and Japan. This sport enjoys remarkable TV viewership in the US. The most popular league in the world which is the NBA or The National Basketball League is followed by millions of fans in the US and outside the US too. Who doesn’t even know about the NBA, right? 

4. Hockey

Estimated Following: 2 Billion Fans 

Hockey, whether in a field or on ice, is a very popular sport around the world. In Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia, field hockey is mainly played. Meanwhile, ice hockey is particularly popular in Northern Europe, the US, and Canada. This game is played by two teams who try to put a ball into the opposing team’s net using a hockey stick. Field hockey, unlike ice hockey, usually does not use body contact in the form of checking. 

5. Tennis 

Estimated Following: 1 Billion Fans 

Of course, most of us are already familiar with tennis. There are over one billion people all over the world who are tuning in from around the world. This sport has players on both sides of an elongated net who try to hit a ball with a racket so that it either goes past their rivals or bounces on their rivals’ side twice to score points. Famous tennis players, like Serena Williams and Roger Federer, became the household names for this sport around the world. 

6. Volleyball 

Estimated Following: 900 Million Fans

Volleyball is a popular sport that involves two teams, each on one side of a lifted net, trying to “volley” a ball on the top of the ground of the opposing teams’ side for points. An estimate of 900 million people, particularly in Western Europe and North America, even in Australia, Asia, and South America. Beach volleyball which is also a popular variant of the game is played on sand with two people per team, unlike regular volleyball, where there are normally six players on every team. 

7. Table Tennis 

Estimated Following: 875 Million Fans

This sport is very similar to tennis, the only difference is what amounts to a table with a net at the centre and players on every side try to get a ball past their opponents. Also called Ping Pong, table tennis is a sport that originated in England during the early 20th century. With over 875 million following fans, it’s particularly known in Asia but also followed in Africa, Europe, and the Americas. 

8. Baseball 

Estimated Following: 500 Million Fans

This sport is a bat-and-ball game played by two teams consisting of nine players who take turns batting and fielding. The way for the offence is to aim to score more runs than its rival by hitting a ball thrown by the pitcher with a bat and moving counter-clockwise around a series of four bases: first, second, third, and home plate. If the runner advances around the bases and goes back to home plate then a run is scored. 

9. Rugby 

Estimated Following: 475 Million Fans 

Rugby is a sport that originated in England and is considered most popular in the UK and other Commonalities like New Zealand and Australia. With rugby, there are two teams who try to carry, kick, or pass a ball over an end goal line to score points. The sport involves plenty of contact such as tackling which is similar to American football. But rugby players wear little protection, unlike American football players who wear a lot of padding and hard helmets for protection. 

10. Golf 

Estimated Following: 450 Million Fans

Golf has an estimate of 450 million followers who try to shoot a small ball in a hole with the fewest strokes possible. The famous sport originated in Scotland in the 15th century. Amazingly, the word ‘golf’ actually originated in the Netherlands which translated to “club.”  Golf is largely played in Western Europe, North America, and East Asia.

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