The Most Popular Sports By Country

Sport is a global thing. Every country in the world does sports but some sports are more popular in some countries than others.

While some sports are loved and played in some countries, the same sport could be unknown and unpopular in another country.

Below we provide a list of the most popular sports by country.

United States of AmericaAmerican Football, Baseball, Basketball
CanadaIce Hockey
ChinaBasketball, Table Tennis
JapanSoccer/ Football
New ZealandRugby
United KingdomSoccer/ Football
GermanySoccer/ Football
FranceSoccer/ Football
BelgiumSoccer/ Football
SpainSoccer/ Football
ItalySoccer/ Football
NetherlandsSoccer/ Football
PortugalSoccer/ Football
SwedenSoccer/ Football
SwitzerlandSoccer/ Football
TurkeySoccer/ Football
CyprusSoccer/ Football
RussiaSoccer/ Football
BrazilSoccer/ Football
ArgentinaSoccer/ Football
MexicoSoccer/ Football
IndiaCricket, Kabaddi
NorwaySoccer/ Football
DenmarkSoccer/ Football
FinlandSoccer/ Football
Saudi ArabiaSoccer/ Football
QatarSoccer/ Football
U.A.EHorse Racing
IsraelSoccer/ Football, Basketball
SyriaSoccer/ Football
Sri LankaCricket
IranWrestling, Horse racing
South AfricaRugby
UgandaSoccer/ Football
NigeriaSoccer/ Football
AngolaSoccer/ Football
CameroonSoccer/ Football
Ivory CoastSoccer/ Football
GhanaSoccer/ Football
SenegalSoccer/ Football
MaliSoccer/ Football
D.R CongoSoccer/ Football
EthiopiaSoccer/ Football
AlgeriaSoccer/ Football
RwandaSoccer/ Football
AngolaSoccer/ Football
ColombiaSoccer/ Football
PeruSoccer/ Football
ParaguaySoccer/ Football
UruguaySoccer/ Football
BoliviaSoccer/ Football
EcuadorSoccer/ Football
ChileSoccer/ Football
JamaicaAthletics, Cricket, Soccer/ Football
PolandSoccer/ Football
UkraineSoccer/ Football
GreeceSoccer/ Football
LatviaSoccer/ Football
EstoniaSoccer/ Football
LithuaniaSoccer/ Football
RomaniaSoccer/ Football
BelarusSoccer/ Football
KazakhstanSoccer/ Football
MongoliaArchery, Wrestling, Horse Racing
North KoreaSoccer/ Football
South KoreaSoccer/ Football
MalaysiaSoccer/ Football
ThailandMuay Thai, Soccer/ Football
CambodiaSoccer/ Football
SingaporeSoccer/ Football
VietnamSoccer/ Football

The Most Popular Sports by Country

North America

United States of America

Photo by Muyuan Ma on Unsplash

American Football, just known as Football is the most popular sport in America with the Super Bowl being the biggest sports event in the USA.

But it’s not only professional football that makes a lot of noise. College football is also very popular with millions of people turning out every year to support their favorite college football programs.

Apart from football, basketball is the most played sport among young people in the streets and neighborhoods.

This is because basketball doesn’t need a lot of gear and accessories like football.

Baseball is also a traditional American sport, especially among the older generation.

It is also very popular in many Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.


Most Popular Sports By Country
Photo by April Walker on Unsplash

Ice Hockey is a quintessential Canadian sport. Some of the greatest hockey players in the world such as Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, and Sidney Crosby are all Canadians.

Canada has been present in all winter Olympic games and has hosted three of them;  Montreal (1976, Summer), Calgary (1988, Winter), and Vancouver (2010, Winter)

Another sport that is also very popular in Canada is Lacrosse which is played mostly in the summer.

Lacrosse was declared Canada’s national game in 1859, however, in 1994 it was changed by the Canadian Parliament.

Now, lacrosse is the national summer sport, and hockey is the national winter sport.

Central and South America


Most Popular Sports By Country
Photo by Ferran Feixas on Unsplash

Brazil is known worldwide as a football/soccer nation. Football is the biggest and most popular sport in the country.

Brazil boasts of a long list of legendary football players such as Pele, Garrincha, Romario, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, Kaka, and Neymar.

Having been present in every single FIFA World Cup tournament, Brazil has won 5 World Cup trophies, something not many countries can boast of.

Apart from football, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a popular Brazilian martial art that is also quite popular around the world.


Most Popular Sports By Country
Photo by Daiji Umemoto on Unsplash

Most of Latin America is into baseball. Countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic have produced some of the greatest baseball players in the Major League.

Hall of Famers Vladimir Guerrero and David Ortiz are from the Dominican Republic, Carlos Beltrán, Edgar Martinez, and Ivan Rodriguez are from Puerto Rico while Bobby Abreu is from Venezuela.

Even though other sport such as football is popular in Latin American countries, baseball is clearly the number one.


Most Popular Sports By Country
Photo by Janosch Diggelmann on Unsplash

Much of Europe is into soccer/football. The sport that originated in England is not only the most popular sport in the world but also the most played sport in the whole world.

Europe is also home to some of the biggest football clubs in the world such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea FC, Bayern Munich, Juventus FC, and A.C Milan.

The UEFA Champions League which brings together the best football clubs in Europe to compete is one of the most-watched sports events in the world with over 300 million viewers annually.

Apart from football, Motosports is also very popular in Europe with multiple teams competing in the Formula One car race.

Cycling is also another popular sport with the Tour de France being the number one most viewed sports event in the world.


Indian Subcontinent

Most Popular Sports By Country
Photo by CFPhotosin Photography on Unsplash

Cricket is the most popular sport in the Indian subcontinent. This sport which originally started in England is presently the most played sport in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

The Cricket World Cup is organized every four years and is currently one of the most-watched sporting events in the world.

India has won the World Cup twice and Sachin Tendulkar, one of the greatest cricket players of all time is from India.

Apart from cricket, kabaddi is also a popular sport in India as well as football, badminton, and tennis.


Photo by Poodar Chu on Unsplash

Traditionally, Martial arts originated from the East and have been present in China for ages. However, as China became open to the world, the people embraced other sports disciplines.

Presently, basketball is the most popular sport in China with millions of Chinese tuning in to watch the NBA games every year.

The biggest NBA star from China so far has been Yao Ming who played for the Houston Rockets in the 2000s.

Badminton, table tennis, and racket are also very popular sports in China.



Photo by Jannik Skorna on Unsplash

Just like in Europe, football/soccer is the most popular sport in Nigeria and other African countries.

Even with poor infrastructure and sports academies, there’s no shortage of athletic talent in Africa.

The biggest sports event in Africa is the African Cup of Nations which brings together over 30 African nations to compete with each other leading to an eventual winner.

Some of the biggest football legends in Africa are Jay-Jay Okocha from Nigeria, Samuel Eto’o from Cameroon, Didier Drogba from Ivory Coast, Sadio Mane from Senegal, and Mohammed Salah from Egypt.

South Africa

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

South Africa is a nation that loves the game of rugby. Also known as The Springboks, they won the first rugby world cup trophy in 1995 and the second in 2007.

The South African national team is one of the best rugby teams in the world and they’ve produced Hall of Fame players such as Francois Pienaar, Naas Botha, and John Smit.

Football/soccer is also very popular in South Africa. In 2010, they were the first African nation to host the FIFA World Cup competition which Spain won.

Cricket is also very popular in South Africa as well as golf.

Final Words

While sport is a global thing, every country does it differently from another.

Indians go crazy for cricket. Hockey is a Canadian thing.

In most of Europe, fans spend billions of dollars supporting their favorite football clubs.

However, in America Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest days all over the USA.

Related Stories