What is the world’s most popular sports? This question is most often asked and has most often never been definitively answered. A quick search and a bit of research found many references to the top sports of the world.
The problem with listing the top sports is coming up with a clear defining variable for the list. When we mention popular, do we mean most watched, the most played or just the most talked about! Other factor which could help determine the lists of popular sports include the number of fans, the number of registered players and the number of people that play the game. Many of these things were factored in a list of top 10 most watched sports.
With over 3.5 billion fans, football (or soccer) is undeniably the most watched sport in the world. Football has the maximum stadiums, greatest numbers of people buying football merchandise, number of competitions and events held – such as the world cup, UEFA League, American Cup, etc. Also there are the maximum number of teams, leagues and clubs for football all over the world. The current football world cup 2010 has about 715.1 million people who watched the final. It is the world’s most widely viewed sports event today.
Immensely popular from the beginning, since its inception in England in the 16th century. Cricket is more popular in Test playing countries, and is the second most watched sport after football. The Cricket world cup in 2007, had 672,000 spectators in the stadiums alone and about 2.2 billion TV viewers, with the matches being telecast in 200 countries. The 2011 Cricket world cup will be broadcasted in 220 countries.
Basketball has about 2 billion spectators worldwide, though most are in USA and Europe. The NBA is the most popular league with all its matches being closely watched. The NBA has a viewership of 1.5 – 2 million per match, and a total viewership of 15 million per season. The NCCA drew a viewership of 12 million viewers.
Wimbledon matches had about 2.2 million viewers per match, whereas the US Open had a viewership of 63.5 in all, with each match having 10 million viewers. The game of tennis originated in the United kingdom and spread among the English speaking population in the world and now is an Olympic sport. Tennis has some major tournaments, Grand Slam Tournaments, Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open which are widely watched.
5. Motor Racing
Auto racing, also called car racing or motor racing, is one of the most televised sports. Formula One is the most popular kind of single-seat car racing tournament and is a World Championship. Single seat racing is not only about teams, there are also car racing clubs like Monoposto Racing Club. The other kind of single seat racing is Kart Racing which is on smaller machines on low cost tracks. The Grand Prix began in France in 1894, and was an endurance test for the car and driver. Grand prix evolved into formula racing and later Formula 1. Formula one championships are called Grand prix.
6. Horse Racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport, that has evolved from the ancient chariot races. Horse racing is associated with gambling and generated $ 115 billion during the last season. Horse racing can be broadly categorised into thoroughbred horses racing, endurance racing or quarter horse racing. An important race is the Kentucky Derby race. Along with others it is held in June each year. This is a sport usually associated with the elite, models and celebrities are the usual faces seen on the race-course.
The 2009 World Series, the most prestigious tournament of Baseball in the United States and Canada, had a viewership of 19.1 million viewers. Baseball was initially played in England in the mid-nineteenth century. In North America, various versions of the game developed. It is the national sport of the United States.
Baseball on the professional, amateur, and youth levels is popular in North America, parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean, and parts of East Asia. Besides being played with enthusiasm, it is also highly watched.
Athletics is a collection of running, jumping, walking and throwing games. It is inexpensive and one of the most popular sports in the world. Starting back to the 776 BC, Olympics, athletics is now an integral part of the Summer Olympics. It is at the Olympics that Athletics is watched with interest and passion. The World Athletic Meet had a viewership of 8-9 million in the Men’s 100 metre and the Women’s High Jump.
Golf is a precision Club-and–Ball sport, using various types of clubs to hit balls in the holes. The golf course consists of either 9 or 18 holes. Finding its origin in Rome, China and Scotland, Golf has evolved to a spectator sport over the years. Tiger Woods was the face of Golf for a long time until his personal life dragged his career to a standstill.
Boxing is a combat sport. During the game, two people fight using their fists. Originating in 2nd and 3rd millennium BC, it was popular in Roman and Greek cultures, where the only entertainment for masses was to watch humans and animals combat. Muhammed Ali was the face of boxing. Today boxing has a viewership of over 2 million fanatics.