Ranking the world’s most popular sports

In the wake of global conflicts and differences sponsored by race, religion, and to some degree, class, sport is a unifier. It is a universal language spoken throughout the world, a factor that heals deep-lying wounds, and creates harmony among nations.

Basketball action in Malawi

There are hundreds of sports played in different parts of the planet, but as you would expect, some are more popular than others. We take a look at the various disciplines that make the 10 most popular sports around the world, with regards to global fanbase and viewership.

#1. Football/Soccer

Outside the USA, it is known as football, while Americans call it soccer to avoid mixing it up with another sport known as American Football. Played by more than 250 million players in almost every part of the globe, football is easily the most popular sport of all. The football world cup that takes place once every four years is the most followed event on the planet, with billions of fans across all continents. Fans and betting experts bet on football events with Betway throughout the calendar year.

#2. Cricket

Cricket does not command the same following as football, but it emerges as the second most popular sport. It’s the biggest sport in India, Pakistan, and other parts of Asia, while it also commands a reasonable backing in the UK, Australia, and South Africa, among many other countries. The Cricket World Cup and ODIs are popular broadcast events generating considerable amounts in revenue.

#3. Basketball

Commanding approximately 2.5 billion fans globally, Basketball is somewhere up there alongside cricket. It is big in the USA, Canada, and China, but it has been emerging over the years as a top sport in Europe, Africa, and some parts of Asia. It is one of the most-watched sports with a TV audience of more than 2 billion.

#4. Rugby

Rugby has grown from the shadows of other sports to become a global sporting event, with a rapidly growing fanbase. Australia, England, New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, Argentina, Scotland, Wales, and South Africa are some of the top teams in the rugby world. It is a sport that keeps gaining global attention across all continents, with the sport showing tremendous rise even in the USA.

#5. Motorsport

Another popular sport in the world is motorsport, with an estimated global TV viewership of almost 2 billion. It takes place throughout the year across multiple venues in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, establishing itself as a sport for the new generation. It is also one of the best-sponsored sports attracting the world’s top brands.

#6. Tennis

Open Tennis events are popular all over the world, with the last few editions of both men and women witnessing winners from different continents. The USA used to be the dominant force in the sport, but Europe and Asia are establishing themselves as powerful forces. Remember, you can bet on tennis events with Betway for a chance to win massive amounts of money.

Other popular sports

It is not easy to name every sport, but other deserving mentions include golf, hockey, volleyball, handball, and boxing, among others.


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