Most popular sports in the world


    All types of sports are popular around the world, but which sports can we call THE most popular sports in the world? Some of the answers might surprise you.

    It’s no surprise that football, or what Americans call “soccer”, is the world’s most popular sport to play and watch. It is estimated that 3.5 billion people watch or play football. The World Cup is the world championship of the sport and this tournament is played every four years. The World Cup itself is one of the highest rated sports on television, with many countries tuning in in droves to watch their country’s team play. Football is popular throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and South America. However, with so many other popular sports, the United States still lags behind in its interest in “soccer”.

    Then we have cricket. This bat and ball sport has been around for hundreds of years and originated in England. The sport is popular in UK, Australia, New Zealand, some African countries, some Caribbean countries and it is the most popular sport in the countries of India and Pakistan. It is estimated that 3 billion people watch or play cricket each year.

    The second most popular sport is a sure surprise, and that is field hockey, with around 2 billion players or spectators, mostly in Asian countries, European countries, Australia and around Africa. This sport tends to be played in high schools in the United States, usually by girls only.

    Then comes tennis. Not so surprising, but there are around 1 billion tennis players and spectators in the world. Tennis tends to be popular in wealthy countries including the United States, Asian countries, Australia, and Europe. There are four main tennis tournaments, called “Grand Slams”, in which players from many countries participate. The first is the Australian Open, then the French Open, Wimbledon and finally the US Open at the end of August. Grand Slam tournaments tend to get the most attention during the tennis season.

    Then we have volleyball. Yet another surprise, with an estimated 900 million viewers or gamers worldwide. Volleyball is popular in the United States, where the sport originated, as well as in Brazil, throughout Europe, Russia, China and Japan. Volleyball is a popular high school sport in many countries due to its team-centric play and lack of specialized equipment requirements.

    Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is also popular. It is another surprisingly popular sport in the world, with around 900 million spectators or players. Table tennis originated in England as an after-dinner activity for Victorians in the late 19th century. Table tennis as a competitive sport is popular in many countries, but it is particularly popular in China, Korea, and Singapore.

    After these sports, we have a triumvirate of more traditional American sports, including baseball, golf, American football and basketball, each sport attracting between 400 and 500 million players or spectators worldwide.

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