Ranking the World's Most Followed Sports

Ranking the World's Most Followed Sports

One thing that all sports have in common is the enthusiasm and emotion of their fans. Everywhere in the world, from the richest to the poorest areas, there is a sport that the whole population is passionate about and that brings together thousands of fans. As you might expect, the frequency changes from place to place. Like, football is the most popular sport in Europe, but American football is the most popular sport in the US. Discover the games that people all over the world watch the most.


Ranking the Most Followed Sports Worldwide

A study conducted by Tifosy, a renowned sports company, has compiled a ranking of the most popular sports worldwide. Let’s explore these sports and the size of their fanbases:

  1. Football – 3.5 billion fans
  2. Cricket – 2.5 billion fans
  3. Basketball – 2.2 billion fans
  4. Hockey – 2 billion fans
  5. Tennis – 1 billion fans
  6. Volleyball – 900 million fans
  7. Table Tennis (Ping-Pong) – 900 million fans
  8. Baseball – 500 million fans
  9. American Football – 400 million fans
  10. Rugby – 400 million fans


Football: The Undisputed Global Champion

The image of children playing football in the streets, with a leather ball or even makeshift ones, is etched into our collective memory. Whether in Europe, South America, Asia, or Africa, football enjoys widespread popularity. Its 3.5 billion fans make it nearly unbeatable in this special ranking. The FIFA World Cup garners more attention than events like the Olympics or the Super Bowl, underscoring the immense influence of this sport.


The Podium: Cricket and Basketball

It’s no surprise to see cricket ranked second in the list of most-followed sports globally, with 2.5 billion fans. This sport, similar to baseball, holds the status of a national sport in India, a country with a population of over a billion. Developed in England, cricket is highly popular in Commonwealth nations and is intertwined with unique cultural aspects.

Claiming the third spot is basketball, with 2.2 billion fans. Its appeal extends far beyond the borders of the United States. The NBA serves as the premier league, attracting champions from around the world. In Europe, countries like Greece, Turkey, and Serbia show significant interest, along with Spain, France, and Italy. Recent events like the FIBA World Cup in the Philippines and Japan have garnered tremendous interest, indicating its global reach.


Field Hockey and Tennis

Field Hockey’s prominent position in the list might surprise some. However, with approximately 2 billion fans, this ancient sport boasts a rich history. Originating in ancient Persia, its spread was spearheaded by England. Today, it’s immensely popular in countries like India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina, as well as across Europe.

The memories of Jannik Sinner’s triumph at the Australian Open are still fresh, evoking smiles among tennis enthusiasts. With around 1 billion fans worldwide, tennis continues to grow. Originally an almost elitist sport, it has expanded its reach thanks to substantial investments by federations and sponsors. Television coverage, rule modifications, and grassroots initiatives have all contributed to its increasing accessibility.


Other Highly-Followed Sports Worldwide

Further down the ranking, we find volleyball and table tennis, each boasting approximately 900 million fans. While volleyball has a Western influence, it also holds significance in Asia and South America. On the other hand, table tennis is dominated by China, Japan, and South Korea. Interestingly, it holds the title of the most played sport globally, with forty million competitive players and three hundred million amateurs.

Maintaining its position in the top 10 is baseball, with around 500 million fans. Although the majority hail from the United States, the sport is undergoing a transitional phase due to the length of games, prompting the MLB to consider rule changes. American football remains popular, with approximately 400 million fans, with its appeal extending beyond U.S. borders thanks to technological advancements.

Rounding off the top 10 is rugby, which garners fans primarily in Commonwealth nations such as England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, and notably, New Zealand. It also enjoys significant interest in other regions like France and Argentina.