Sports are perhaps the most popular form of entertainment today. They have billions of fans all over the world – their love for their favourite sport transcends politics and geography – the fans of the most popular athletes and teams are united in their love for sports.
But not all sports are created equal. Some of them are only known in small regions, while others are a truly global phenomenon, with fans in every corner of the globe. Here are the ones with the most fans around the world.
Football is, without a doubt, the most popular sport in the world – and almost like the motor behind the entire sports betting industry. Bookmakers cover pretty much every league, every tournament, almost every match played professionally in every country, no matter if it’s North Korea or Samoa.
Every country around the world has its national football league (except for countries that are too small to have more than one team, like Vatican City or the Marshall Islands), and most of them are represented internationally by a national team.
According to a recent estimate, there are more than 3.5 billion football fans in the world, and millions more follow the sport at least occasionally, making it the most popular sport in 2021.
Cricket is a sport with an interesting international status – some people never even heard of it, while others consider it the pinnacle of every sport in the world. It is a bat-and-ball game that, for the outsider, may look a bit like baseball (the latter has a much better media coverage) that is played especially in the United Kingdom (where it originated), Asian countries like India, and Australia.
Cricket has an estimated 2.5 billion fans around the world, most of them in countries with an active cricket scene.
While its icy cousin routinely steals the show, it’s far less popular than hockey (known as ‘field hockey’ in most English-speaking countries thanks to the American influence). Played on grass (or artificial turf), hockey has both indoor and outdoor variants played on bigger or smaller fields and is played both professionally and on an amateur level in many countries around the world.
And it has a massive fan base: according to recent estimates, around 2 billion people around the world follow both its major events and smaller competitions.
For many of us, tennis seems to be a boring sport – it’s slow-paced compared to football and cricket, and a game can last for ages. Still, tennis is the fourth most-followed sport in the world, with around 1 billion fans worldwide.
Without a doubt, the popularity of the sport has a lot to do with the popularity of its stars – many of them are well-known sports personalities all over the world.
The game we all love to play on the beach is the fifth most-followed sport in the world, with more than 900 million fans worldwide. The game is played – both on an amateur and a professional level – in pretty much every corner of the globe.
Volleyball is played at the Summer Olympics, too, with countries like Russia, Brazil, and the United States dominating the podiums. Internationally, Brazil’s national team has the most Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup titles (5).