Top 16 Most Popular Sports in the World

We are actually funny. Often, we hate comparison but indulge in competitions that compare us. What’s life without competitions anyways?

And the most significant arena for it is “sports.” Who is the best? Who stays on top? It does seek constant validation. Meanwhile, it gives us the maximized satisfaction and thrill that might have been missing from our life.

Sports; medium of refreshment
Sports; the medium of refreshment

Today, we are comparing sports as a whole. Which is the most popular sport today?

Indeed, this question itself has cracked numerous sports we have on the mind, and we indulge daily. But is it only to that? 

Top 16 Most Popular Sports in the World (2021 Edition) 

We have included the top 16 sports that are highly popular around the world. Be sure to check if your ideas do match them. Also, you might be surprised with some placements. 

As we discuss them, we will also dig deeper into the areas they are popular. Not to mention, people around the globe are playing it.

But, overall, to maintain the spice, we will start the countdown with the number 16. 

16. Gymnastics 

Gymnastics are one of the oldest forms of sports and commenced through ancient Greek exercises. As per the historical sources, it initially started from the Soviet Union, and at present, it is most popular in America. 

Additionally, almost five million people indulge in gymnastics every year, ranging from six to older. Not to mention, among the statistics, 71 percent of them are girls. 

A few years back, gymnastics received the highest number of viewers with 38 million. 

15. Swimming

Without a doubt, swimming goes far back then we can remember. But, apart from sports, almost every people are in it in their daily form.

Also, it’s no surprise that yearly the number of participants in this field is increasing. 

Well, this sort is also most famous in the United States, followed by Australia and Russia.

As per the statistics, only in the United States, about 8.4 percent of people are swimming. 

14. Badminton

As common as it may sound, badminton is also one of the most popular sports in the world. If we talk in general among the public, almost 220 million people worldwide play this sort regularly. 

Most Popular Sports in the world: Badminton

However, around 54 million fans follow in this arena when it comes to the professional level. Flashback to then, it was initially commenced from the British arena. 

13. Track and Field 

Track and field is definitely a sport that has rooted its history deep into humankind. It’s in almost every college, and numerous people are into it. 

As a fun fact, this particular sport has also been one of the best. The reason is simple: it helps to land on several college scholarships and acts as a strong foundation in one’s career. 

Apart from it, this sport also has a powerful impact on one’s health. 

12. Golf

Starting with a fact, the modern golf we all enjoy this time started back in the fifteenth century in Scotland. This sport has been well received and bloomed over the years. 

Initially, it was known as a game for rich older people to pass their leisure time. However, the concept is not the same anymore, and numerous people around the globe have taken it into action. 

Indeed, it did fall a bit behind in recent years. However, golf still has a massive audience of 450 million.

Well, statistically, almost 30 million people play it on and off the court. Again, 12.1 million people participate in this game professionally. 

11. Rugby

At first, rugby started back in the first half of the nineteenth century from England. After that, it was very popularized among the commonwealth communities. Today, this sport is mainly popular in New Zealand, Wales, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Georgia, and Madagascar. 

Indeed, this sport has gained recognition as one of the most celebrated sports compared to the past. All over the world, there are 475 million fandoms. However, it is not taken seriously in a competitive sense. 

Sadly, people still take rugby as a minor amateur sport in some parts of the world. 

10. Baseball 

Initially, baseball started as a popular school game among the children of Great Britain and Ireland. But, the modern baseball game we plunge into is of North American descent. Without a doubt, it is favored in the United States today. 

Likewise, baseball is highly popular in the Dominican Republic, Canada, and Puerto Rico. But, if you look into statistical value, approximately 500 million people are a part of the baseball fandom.

Not to mention, this sport depicts about 30 million players on the field. Also, in over 140 countries in the world, this sport is played. 

9. Basketball 

Basketball came into existence back in the late 1890s when a Canadian professor thought of it for his students. As we look into its fandom, basketball has around 875 million people. 

Most Popular sports in the world: Basketball
Basketball happens to be one of the most popular sports in the world

As for their value in countries, the United States still tops for it. However, the Philippines and Canada closely follow it. 

You can also check out the top basketball movies of all time.

8. Table Tennis (Ping Pong)

Table Tennis is often considered a game for older upper-level students and initially started in Victorian England. However, over the last decade, it has widely grown as a popular sport with around 875 million people in fandom. 

Well, it is slowly gaining popularity in the United States. However, it has been a fill forged popular game across Europe and East Asia.

Widely known as ping pong, this game is more friendly and highly popular among kids as a school game too.

7. Volleyball

Any sports that are related to the ball have been quite popular among fans. It is highly popularized in Brazil, to be specific. Indeed, other countries also take it as an extensive entertainment factor.

Interestingly, volleyball has two parts; the indoor and the beach. About 900 million people are involved in its fandom, and about 800 people participate in this game.

Also, it is on the list of one of the prestigious games across the globe. 

6. Boxing 

Well, it’s the list for most popular games, and how can we miss out on boxing, right? It has got the thrill, entertainment, and even risk that completes a category of sports.

But, most importantly, it has a high craze among young fans. 


For elaboration, numerous flights or trips around the world occurs to watch a specific boxing match. Thus, among all the nations, the United States showcases a large audience in boxing. Additionally, they also gain the largest financial revenues compared to other countries.

Furthermore, this sport is also highly celebrated in other countries as Cuba, Mexico, the Philippines, and United Kingdom.

Among all these places, one of the centers for the fight is in Las Vegas. Today, boxing generates 900 million people in fandom.

5. Tennis

As per the records, tennis started way back in the twelfth century as an outdoor game, and later, it began to play as an indoor court game in the thirteenth century. However, only in the sixteenth century, this game was named “tennis.”

To date, tennis has had frequent growth sports industry. Statistically, it has reached a fandom of one billion, and almost 87 million people are involved. Well, tennis covers 1.17% of the world’s population.

4. Racing 

Now, racing comes in various forms ranging from the human race to the motor race to the animal race. Well, in whatever form it may be, it is highly entertaining and highly enjoyed by fans all over the globe. 

Among all those numerous races present, auto racing still tops the chart. According to the research, about 1.98 million people are into this line of sports.

Alongside the hefty risk that this sport carries, it also creates a perfect environment for fierce competition. 

Read more on the best shoes of Nike! 

3. Hockey 

Again, hockey is also a kind of sport presented in different dimensions: bandy, field hockey, ice hockey, and rink hockey. Many might not take it, but hockey stands as the third most popular sport on the globe. 

On a similar note, it depicts 2.2 billion people in the fandom, with 1.64 million people actively indulged with it. In nations like Canada, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, and the United States, hockey is very popular. 

Likewise, as we plunge into its historical side, it started around 600 BC. As for materials, they used to use leather, cork, and horns. 

2. Cricket 

Cricket is a general game similar to other bat and ball games that emerged from the south-eastern counties of England. This sport started with high-class men playing to almost every school children indulged in it. 

Today, it stands with the fandom of over 2.5 billion people. Additionally, approximately 460 million people play this sport either regularly or timely. Also, it is popular across 180 nations of the globe.

Among all these nations, this game has been rising rapidly among England, India, and Australia. Yet, also within them, India stands aloof in the top list to have this game as the most popular in their region. 

1. Football

You guessed it; almost everyone did see this coming, being football on the top list of the most popular sports in the world.

Well, why not? It has about 3.5 billion people in the fandom, with over 250 million people indulge in it. 

Football takes the no. 1 spot on our list of most popular sports in the world.

Across Canada and the United States, it is better known as soccer. It is an unsaid thing that football had won the hearts of many without much deeds. So, it’s no surprise that people are deeply affected by this. 

As for the nation, it’s, of course, Brazil. When football talks are down, no one misses out on Brazil. Well, that’s how linked these two terms are. As per history, this sport came into existence from the British side, although most claim it to be from the American side. 


Sports have been with us as far as our existence lives up to. But, of course, it’s not only us growing and evolving but our comfort space of thrill and adventure. Sports he been through our highs and lows, so how can we not fall for it, right?

Anyways, we have summarized the list of the sports today. 

  1. Football
  2. Cricket
  3. Hockey
  4. Racing
  5. Tennis
  6. Boxing
  7. Volleyball
  8. Table Tennis (Ping Pong)
  9. Basketball
  10. Baseball
  11. Rugby
  12. Golf
  13. Track and Field
  14. Badminton
  15. Swimming
  16. Gymnastics 

You might also be interested in plunging into the top ten most dangerous sports of all time. 

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