Most Popular Sports
What are the most popular sports worldwide?
Football (Soccer) ranks at the top of a majority of the credible lists published.
"Most popular" could mean "most watched", "most played" or "most revenue-generating."
Based on the variable definition of "most popular" the following observations apply:
The most played sport in the world is FOOTBALL.
Based on the number and size of stadiums around the world, the number of people who wear football merchandise, number of people who are aware of football, and the number of leagues/tournaments worldwide (The WORLD CUP, UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, THE SOUTH AMERICAN CUP, THE AMERICAN CUP, THE ASIAN CUP, 70 English league teams, 40 Italian league teams, 40 Spanish league teams) football ranks at the top of the list regardless the definition of "most popular".
Rugby is very popular in many former English colonies (with the noteable exception of the United States) and carries a large following, however participation rates fall below that of football.
Most Frequently Cited Ranked Lists
1) Football. 3.3-3.5 Billion Fans. (Europe, Africa, Asia, Americas,etc)
2) Cricket 2-3. Billion Fans. (India,U.K,Pakistan,Asia,Australia,etc)
3) Field Hockey. 2-2.2 Bilion Fans. (Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia)
4) Tennis. Around 1 Billion Fans. (Europe, Americas, Asia)
5) Volleyball Around 900 Million Fans. (Asia, Erope, Americas, Australia)
6) Table Tennis Around 900 Million Fans. (Asia, Europe, Africa, Americas)
7) Baseball Around 500 Million Fans. (U.S, Japan, Cuba, Dom rep)
8) Golf Around 400 Million Fans. (U.S, Canada, Europe)
9) Gridiron (american football) 390-410 Million Fans. (U.S mainly)
10) Basketball Not more than 400M Fans. (U.S, Canada mainly)
See Related Links
for more on cricket popularity.