Home Sports Which Sports Are Global Favourites?

Which Sports Are Global Favourites?

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Imagine a world without sports. Unimaginable, right?

Sports brings together millions of spectators all year round and generates billions of pounds in bets with online sites, like Timeform. Some people may say that they are not into sports, but that doesn’t mean that there is not a single sporting event that they won’t pay any attention to. It is in the competitive nature of humans to love sports. Some are globally recognised, while others are enjoyed by only a small number of people.

In this short article, we will take a lot at which sports are global favourites.

Association Football

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The sport originated in its ancient form in China but was modernised in England to the contemporary game we know today. The sport, otherwise known as football or soccer is the most popular sport globally, with world-wide fans totalling over 4 billion – that is just over half of the global population. This game is popular in almost every country, but primarily in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

The most prestigious competition is the UEFA Champion League which is the most watched sporting event that is held annually. The top-division European clubs take part. Every four years, an event known as the FIFA World Cup takes place. The event draws global attention every time it comes around, with the 2018 competition obtaining  3.5 billion viewers.


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Surprise surprise! Cricket is the second most popular sport globally, as it has a global fan base of 2.5 billion. This should not be surprising if you are a fan of cricket. The game is most popular in Asia, Australia, and the United Kingdom. One reason cricket is so popular is because it is one of the easiest sports to play as the rules are not time consuming to learn and because it is very accessible to kids. The game played at school can be adapted into multiple variations to make it fun and entertaining for the younger audience.

Field Hockey

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The estimated number of fans that field hockey has may also come as a surprise to many people. But field hockey is estimated to have about 2 billion fans – about 500 thousand shy of the number of fans that cricket has. Field hockey is popular in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. It is the most widely practiced women’s sport in the USA and Canada where it is most popular in schools as one the oldest college sports in the United States.


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Moving on, we have tennis. Tennis is estimated to be watched by about one billion fans across the globe. With major tournament openings across several continents every year, it is no surprise that this sporting discipline racks up this number of viewers. Tennis is most popular in Asia, America, and Europe. The game itself is as much a mental one as a physical one. It requires you to be on top of your mental game because playing Tennis, whilst improving your physical health, will also stimulate your mind in ways many sports can not.

Another reason contributing to Tennis’ popularity is its accessibility, it can be played all year round by anybody of any age. The game is a non contact sport which means injury is minimal compared to some of the other sports on this list.


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The fifth most popular global sport discipline is volleyball. Volleyball has an estimated 900 million fans across America, Australia, Asia, and Europe. Volleyball also has a very strong juvenile and amateur fan-base as it is popular in high schools and colleges. One main reason why it is such a popular sport among juveniles is that it’s a very social occasion. The game requires lots of communication and team work to play effectively.

Table Tennis

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Another sporting discipline with a fan-base that may surprise you is table tennis. Table tennis is enjoyed by an estimated 850 million people across the globe. However, it is most popular in Asia, Africa, Europe, and America. This sport can contribute some of its popularity to the younger generation as it is quite inexpensive to play, with many schools having “Ping Pong” tables available for use in students freetime. It originally became popular in England in the 19th Century.


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Lovers of baseball may be surprised that this sport comes in at the seventh position. But outside of America and Asia, baseball’s popularity is not as strong as the other sporting disciplines already mentioned. Still, baseball has about 500 million estimated fans.


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Golf comes in as the eight favourite global sport, with an estimated fan base of about 450 million people. It is most popular in Canada, America, Asia, and Europe. The sport originated in Scotland where it was played first before later spreading to the UK and the rest of the world.

Basketball, American Football and Rugby

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These three sporting disciplines share the ninth position with an estimated global fan-base of about 400 million each. The games are popular in America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. All of these sports are intense and involve contact, whilst not allowed in Basketball – players often bash into each other.

Basketball was first invented in the United States as an alternative to Football. The sport is played by two teams of five players each, with the goal to successfully shoot the ball through the hoop. American Football attracts one of the biggest sporting events of the year, The Super Bowl. This sport has also become a tradition for Americans on Thanksgiving, attracting a large viewership.

Rugby is the United Kingdom’s answer to American Football. With a global following of around 400 million, it puts it on par with its counterpart in the United States. Rugby is a game played by two teams of 15 players on each side who are allowed to carry, kick or pass a ball across the end line to score a try.

Boxing, Car Racing, Horse Racing

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In the tenth position, we have sports such as boxing, Formula 1 car racing, and horse racing. Put together; these disciplines gather less than 400 hundred million viewers. However, with the upcoming annual events, expect a significant increase in the number of viewers of horse racing.