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Top 10 Most Popular Sports In The World [Ranked]

Last Updated : 21 Feb, 2024
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Some sports are super popular and you can find them in almost every country. Soccer, or football as many call it, is the biggest one. People from all over the world watch big matches, especially the World Cup, cheering for their favorite teams. Then, there’s basketball, which has fans jumping with excitement with every dunk and three-pointer.

Cricket is a big deal in countries like India, Australia, and England, where matches can last for days and bring everyone together. Tennis and athletics (like running and jumping) are also popular because of their thrilling competitions and superstar athletes.


As we dig into the “Most Popular Sports in the World,” we will be taken to the core of athletics. These sports are famous because they are exciting, bring people together, and can be played by almost anyone, anywhere.

Here are the top ten most watched sports on Earth, along with where they are most popular and where their fan bases are located. Most Popular Sport in the world is fans top favorite Soccer or Football.

 1. Soccer / Football

With 3.5 billion fans, Soccer is the most popular watched sports worldwide. It is played and enthusiastically followed throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Soccer’s great popularity extends beyond the professional level, with over 265 million people participating and more than 5 million referees officiating matches, making it a true worldwide phenomenon.



  • Estimated fans: 3.5 billion.
  • Regional Popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, and America.
  • Few sports can compete with football in terms of popularity and participation.
  • According to the most recent FIFA worldwide census, the sport was played by 265 million individuals, including 5 million referees.

Also Check – Top 10 Football Players of All Time 2024

2. Cricket

With an estimated fan base of 2.5 billion people, this sport is widely popular in India, Pakistan, and Australia. The sport has a large popularity in Asia, Australia, and the United Kingdom, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) recognizing 125 countries that play cricket. Cricket’s unique combination of history and excitement has made it a cultural icon in many regions of the world.



  • Estimated fans: 2.5 billion.
  • Regional popularity: Asia, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
  • A popular sport with large followings in India, Pakistan, and Australia.
  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) lists 125 countries that participate in cricket.

3. Field Hockey

Although underappreciated in certain areas, field hockey has a committed fan base of 2 billion people. Field hockey is a popular sport in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia, known for its fast-paced action and technical skill. It also has a prominent presence in the Olympic Games, which strengthens its global significance.



  • Estimated fans: 2 billion.
  • Regional Popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
  • A fast-paced sport practiced in over 100 nations, with a significant representation at the Olympics.

4. Tennis

Tennis is often recognized as the world’s most popular individual sport, with an estimated 1 billion viewers. Its appeal transcends continents, with Europe, Asia, and the Americas serving as its principal strongholds. Tennis captivates fans with dramatic matches and features some of the world’s most skilled athletes competing on the most prestigious platforms.



  • Estimated fans: 1 billion.
  • Popular regions include Europe, Asia, and America.
  • Widely regarded as the most popular solo sport in the world.

5. Volleyball

Volleyball, which originated in America, is projected to have 900 million fans worldwide. The sport is popular in Europe, Australia, Asia, and the Americas, and can be played inside or outdoors. Volleyball is becoming increasingly popular across the world, with over 220 associated national federations registered with the Fédération International de Volleyball (FIVB).


Volley Ball

  • Estimated fans: 900 million.
  • Regional popularity: Europe, Australia, Asia, and America.
  • Volleyball, which originated in America, has a high global participation rate.

6. Table Tennis

With an estimated fan base of 850 million, this indoor activity is gaining popularity globally. Table tennis is popular in schools, social groups, and sports facilities all over the world, attracting players from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Its fast-paced and skilled character attracts people of various ages and backgrounds.


Table Tennis

  • Estimated fans: 850 million.
  • Regional Popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, and America.
  • Indoor sports are becoming increasingly popular in schools, clubs, and institutions across the world.

7. Baseball 

It has achieved international prominence, especially in Japan, despite its historical popularity in America. The sport has an estimated 500 million fans and is known for its distinct combination of strategy, talent, and tradition.


Base Ball

  • Estimated fans: 500 million.
  • Popular regions include America and Japan.
  • A long-standing American staple is gaining popularity in nations such as Japan.

8. Golf

Golf is a popular activity for millions, with an estimated fan base of 450 million people. The sport’s appeal is genuinely global, with fans in Europe, Asia, America, and Canada enjoying both its serene and competitive sides. Golf draws people of various ability levels, from casual players to devoted pros.



  • Estimated fans: 450 million.
  • Popular regions include Europe, Asia, the United States, and Canada.
  • A cherished hobby enjoyed by roughly 60 million people each year.
  • Best Sports to Play

9. Basketball

With over 400 million supporters, basketball is a beloved sport in America. It is played both recreationally and in formal contests, and great athletes including Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have helped to boost its global appeal.


Basket Ball

  • Estimated fans: 400 million.
  • America is a popular regional destination.
  • It thrives with at least 450 million players worldwide, both recreational and structured.

Also Check – Top 20 Best NBA Players of All Time

10. American Football

With an estimated 400 million fans, American football is gaining popularity globally. Its explosive action and tactical gameplay have attracted viewers around the world.


American Football

  • Estimated fans: 400 million.
  • Regional popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, America, and Australia.
  • This famous American sport is gaining popularity in many regions of the world.

Also Check – NFL Football Teams [List of all 32 NFL Teams]

What is the Hardest Sport in the World?

Based on the recent studies and rankings, the hardest sport in the world is boxing (hardest) followed by ice hockey, football, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, gymnastics, baseball/softball, and soccer. These games are very tough to master and require a lot of practice and a good mental strength.

Which sport is played most in the world?

Football is the world’s most popular sport simply because it has the most fans (3.5 billion) and has active players in almost every country in the world. Almost every country also has a professional league, with the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga being the 2 most well-known.


The list does a good job of showing the state of sports throughout the world, but the ranks of popularity and participation are sure to ignite debate. One cannot fully appreciate the human condition without including athletic events, due to their singular power to unite communities and spark passionate debates. 

Fans of various ages and backgrounds continue to find unity and happiness in the shared experience of watching and participating in athletic events, whether on the field, court, or pitch.

What are the 5 most popular sports in the world?

The five most popular sports in the world, based on global participation and viewership, include soccer (football), basketball, cricket, tennis, and field hockey.

Which sport is No 1 in the world?

Soccer, also known as football in many parts of the world, holds the coveted position as the number one sport globally. Its unparalleled popularity is marked by massive participation and an enormous fan base.

Which sport is no 2 in the world?

No sport claims the title of being universally recognized as the number two sport worldwide. However, sports like basketball, cricket, and tennis are among the contenders, each enjoying immense popularity in various regions.

Which sport is very famous in the world?

Soccer (football) is incredibly famous worldwide, boasting a massive following that transcends borders and cultural differences. Its accessibility and simplicity contribute to its widespread appeal.

What are the 3 most famous sports?

The three most famous sports globally are soccer (football), basketball, and cricket. These sports have a significant global presence, with passionate fan bases and widespread participation.

What is the oldest sport?

Wrestling is considered one of the oldest sports, with roots dating back thousands of years. It has been part of the ancient Olympic Games and has evolved into various forms across different cultures and civilizations.

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