The Most Popular Sports in the World, by Country

Go, sports! We are talking sports today, so that means sports puns. Please forgive me ahead of time because I am sure not all of them will be slam dunks. According to the Sports Global Market Report 2023, the global sports market is projected to grow from $512.14 billion in 2023 to $623.63 billion by 2027. Humans have engaged in sport since the Stone Age – cave paintings in the Lascaux caves of France appear to depict wrestling and sprinting around 15,300 years ago! Since then, over 8,000 sports and sporting games have scored a place in history. So what are the most popular sports nowadays? Playground equipment MVP AAAStateofPlay served with this map of the most popular sport in every country. I would say they knocked it out of the park!


The most popular sport in the world is football (or soccer), which has around 3.5 billion fans in the world. That means nearly half the world’s population considers themselves a football fan. Are you? Here are the top five most popular sports in the world based on estimated fans:

  1. Association football/soccer – 3.5 billion
  2. Cricket – 2.5 billion
  3. Field hockey – 2 billion
  4. Tennis – 1 billion
  5. Volleyball – 900 billion

You can’t go a yard without seeing something football-related in America, so I was tackled with surprise that American football is only the 10th most popular sport with 400 million fans. Outside the United States, the NFL is more of a bench warmer. In fact, table tennis has football on the ropes with 850 million fans!

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