Ranking The Most Popular Sports In The World

We list the most popular sports in the world and you won't be surprised at No. 1, but No. 3 might.

What are the most popular sports in the world?

Sports, tactical games that we have created and engaged in for centuries, have been one of the major driving forces of what makes and keeps us human. Whether it is the perfect spiral thrown 60 yards or the buoyant header that reaches the corner of the net, every single sport provides the same roller coaster of emotions, the same high-spirited crowd of fans and the same rush of adrenaline that comes along with the ultimate sense of competition.

These forms of recreation differentiate from other games because they require physical skill, strategy and aptitude that is sometimes naturally gifted but is always worked on and built up. These forms are soccer, football, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, swimming, track and field and so many others. Although they differentiate from each other in countless ways, each of these is played with the same devotion, intensity and passion by the athletes who take them on. They become a part of the athlete as a human and play a role in their lives, not sometimes, but all of the time.

The sports are played by men and women, boys and girls, of all colors, races, religions, ethnicities and cultures with no measure other than how fast, how strong, how smooth, how skilled they are. Sports are something that we share together globally, not individually, and they ultimately bring us together.

Below is a list of the 10 most popular sports in the world, judged by how large their audience is. You won't be surprised by what is ranked as No. 1. (Estimated fans culled from WorldAtlas.)

Most Popular Sports In The World

#10. Golf 

Estimated No. of Fans: 450 million

Primary Sphere of Influence: Western Europe, East Asia, North America

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#9. Rugby

Estimated No. of Fans: 475 million

Primary Sphere of Influence: UK, Commonwealth

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#8. Baseball

Estimated No. of Fans: 500 million

Primary Sphere of Influence: United States, Caribbean, Japan

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#7. Basketball

Estimated No. of Fans: 825 million

Primary Sphere of Influence: Global

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#6. Table Tennis (Ping Pong)

Estimated No. of Fans: 875 million

Primary Sphere of Influence: Global

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#5. Volleyball

Estimated No. of Fans: 900 million 

Primary Sphere of Influence: Western Europe, North America

#4. Tennis

Estimated No. of Fans: 1 billion

Primary Sphere of Influence: Global

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#3. Field Hockey

Estimated No. of Fans: 2 billion

Primary Sphere of Influence: Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia

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#2. Cricket 

Estimated No. of Fans: 2.5 billion

Primary Sphere of Influence: UK, Commonwealth

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Drumroll Please! ........... The No. 1 most popular sport in the world is ...

#1. Association Football (Soccer) 

Estimated No. of Fans: 4 billion

Primary Sphere of Influence: Global

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