Measuring sports popularity is an interesting and challenging task. One of the important factors to consider is - whether we are interested in number of fans (who follow the sport), or number of people who actually play the sport regularly. We presently give you an analysis of sports popularity by number of fans who follow the sport (and not necessarily play it).
The rankings in individual countries are based upon daily number of internet visitors to websites dedicated to a particular sport. (Thus, websites like fifa.com, cricinfo.com, nfl.com etc. are taken into consideration while websites like foxsports.com are not considered. We use the top websites in over 30 sports categories for the analysis.) The rankings may not be 100% accurate due to two factors - the internet users in a country may not represent the general population perfectly and second, the sample data we use (Alexa rankings) may not be 100% accurate representation of what the internet users visit.
The worldwide popularity rankings (given below) take into account the population of countries and are based on general surveys/discussions on the internet. We will be putting up the detailed statistics for all rankings and also coming up with multiple methods to measure sports popularity more accurately soon. Please feel free to express your opinion about the rankings!
Poll - Which is your favorite Sport?
Soccer (more popularly known as Football in many regions) is a team sport that is popular in almost every country in the world. The huge fan following is perhaps due to the fact that at an amateur level, it requires very little equipment and effort to learn the basics. It starts with as simple as driving the ball into the opponent's goal post and preventing the opponent from doing so. Kids from all walks of life start playing soccer at an early age and go on to become ardent followers of the game. Soccer is also the highest paying team sport at professional level. The prize money for the winning team at the 2010 soccer world cup was US $30 million. The synonym of enthusiasm and zeal, soccer or soccer posses the number 1 ranking in the world's most popular sports. Learn more about this game which has taken the world by storm.
English version of American softball? Close but not quite. The second most popular sport in the world is also a team sport. Cricket's number two spot in terms of number of fans is thanks largely due to its popularity in the Indian sub-continent. It is popular in Asia, Australia, Middle-East, England and few selected countries, but is slowly expanding its reach to other countries. Cricket is a rather interesting sport with many formats - from test matches which last for as long as 5 days to the more recent 20-20 format which has a duration of about 3 hours. The original format of the game (5 days) and the somewhat involved rules and skills required meant that Cricket was popular among a few selected countries to begin with. However, the introduction of the 20-20 format has resulted in many more countries participating in the sport at an international level.
A flick, a hit and the goal - you guessed right, its Hockey! Field hockey is another team sport with reach across the globe. It is played in over 100 countries (members of the International Hockey Federation). Matches at the professional level have a duration of about 1 hour 15 minutes, making hockey a short and action packed sport. Field hockey is one of the most popular team sport for women and also one of the popular team events in the Olympics.
Tennis is the 4th most popular sport in the world, but is the most popular individual sport. Tennis can be played between two single players or two teams of a pair of players each (doubles variant). It is a sport which is equally popular among men and women. Lawn tennis is a very high paying individual sport - individual players have made more than $40 million in a year alone. Tennis is a fascinating game as well as exercise. The fact that there is no fixed time limit in the game means a player has to work hard on his/her stamina - matches between professionals often turn out to be a test of endurance. The only limiting factor in the popularity of the game is the availability of affordable tennis courts for common public. Everyone should try Lawn Tennis - the world's most popular individual sport atleast once!
Volleyball is also a team sport which is popular across the globe, partly due to its different variants (it can be played indoor as well as outdoors). Volleyball is popular among men as well women. Officially, the sport is played between teams of six players each.