The Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World

Sporting activities are done in almost every part of the world. However, some sports are more commonly practiced in certain parts of the world than in others.

Soccer is the most popular sport in Europe and South America, while Cricket is more common in the Indian subcontinent.

Basketball and Baseball are considered American sports, Hockey is a Canadian pastime and badminton is synonymous with East Asia.

We’ve done our research and come up with a list of the most popular sports in the world. Here they are.

Top 10 Most Popular Participation Sports In The World

SportNumber of Followers
Football / Soccer4 billion
Cricket2.5 billion
Basketball2.3 billion
Hockey2 billion
Tennis1 billion
Badminton950 million
Volleyball900 million
Table Tennis800 million
Baseball500 million
Rugby400 million

The Most Played Sports in the World

Soccer/Football 4 billion fans

Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

Soccer or football as it is known in most countries in the world is the most played sport on the entire planet.

One reason for football/soccer’s popularity is that, unlike other sports that require expensive gear, all you need to play football/soccer is a ball and a pair of boots/cleats.

Therefore, anyone, rich or poor, can enjoy the sport.

Soccer is played all over the world, and it is the most popular sport in Europe, South America, and Africa.

It is estimated that soccer has over 4 billion fans who watch and follow the sport.

Some of the biggest competitions in the sport are the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League.

Cricket – 2.5 Billion Fans

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Right behind soccer is cricket in terms of popularity. Cricket is the most played sport in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

Given the massive population of the Indian subcontinent – 1.7 billion people, cricket gets played by hundreds of millions of people every year.

The biggest event in cricket is the Cricket World Cup which takes place every four years.

This sport has an estimated 2.5 billion fans making it one of the most popular sports in the world.

Basketball – 2.3 Billion Fans


Basketball is one of the most popular and most played sports in the world. What makes this game so popular is the ease of playing.

Just like soccer, all you need is a ball, a basketball hoop, and a pair of sneakers to start playing.

Due to star players like Michael Jordan and Lebron James, basketball is one of the fastest-growing sports.

In terms of popularity, the USA, Canada, China, and the Philippines have the largest fanbases.

Hockey – 2 Billion Fans

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There are two forms of hockey. Ice hockey and field hockey. Ice Hockey is a very popular sport in Canada, the USA, and northern Europe.

The biggest hockey league is the NHL which has 32 teams both in the US and Canada, with the Stanley Cup being the biggest trophy in this sport.

Field hockey on the other hand isn’t as popular as ice hockey but also has a huge following, especially in the summer.

Tennis – 1 Billion Fans

Tennis is the most popular individual sport with over 1 billion people following this sport.

With the rise of major tennis stars such as Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal, tennis has gone on to become one of the most played and most-viewed sports in the world.

It is a great sport for relaxing and having fun with friends or family as it can be played in singles or doubles.

The biggest tennis tournament is Wimbledon which gets millions of viewers as well as advertisers.

Badminton – 950 Million Fans

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Badminton may come as a surprise on this list but it is very popular in Asian countries.

Given the fact that most Asian countries are very populous, an estimated 900 million people play and watch this sport annually.

Badminton may not be very lucrative like soccer or basketball but it is certainly a very interesting sport to take part in.

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Volleyball – 900 Million Fans

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Volleyball may not have massive TV broadcasting and sponsorship like basketball or soccer but it is one of the most played sports in the world.

This is because millions of people partake in beach volleyball during the summer months as a means of having fun and relaxation.

Volleyball is also very popular during the Summer Olympic Games where it gets most of its viewership.

Table Tennis – 800 Million Fans

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Also known as Ping Pong, table tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. It is especially very popular in Asia where some of the best players are found.

The reason table tennis is one of the most played sports is that it doesn’t require a lot of expensive gear and it can also be played indoors making it a great form of relaxation and fun.

There are an estimated 800 people worldwide who follow and play this sport.

Baseball – 500 Million Fans

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Baseball may not be very common in most countries but it is a very popular sport in the US, Japan, and Latin American countries.

Also known as America’s pastime, baseball used to be America’s most-watched sport though it has been overtaken by football.

In Japan, baseball is the most-watched sport on television. It is also a popular sport in countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

Related: >>>The easiest sports to bet on and win>>>

Rugby – 400 Million Fans

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Rugby is another very popular sport on this list. The sport is one of the most played sports in countries like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and France.

The biggest rugby tournament in the world is the Rugby World Cup which takes place every four years.

There are an estimated 400 million people that watch and play the sport.


What is the Number 1 most played sport in the world?

Football/Soccer is the number one most played sport in the world.

What is the sport most played?

Football/Soccer is the most played sport in the world.

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