Popular Sports

History of Sports

Sports in the USA

Women and Sports

Popular Sports


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Popular Sports

The popularity of any sport has many facets to it. Regional influences and history of a particular sport are the deciding factors for popularity in a specific region. Sports are also an inherent part of a region’s culture that determine popularity and fame of a particular sport.

Generally, a game or sport has a long history of popularity. Some countries even pass laws to make a sport their national pastime. The best example is Canada who made lacrosse its official national sport in 1859. While other countries where a particular local sport has gained distinction as being inherent to its culture, there is no official mandate. Indian game of hockey, the Japanese sumo wrestling and baseball in the US need no official status.

While India, Bangladesh, Australia, Sri Lanka, West Indies and England plays cricket fervently, there are nations that do not play cricket at all. Football is the most popular sport in Europe and the Americas. Countries like Vietnam, Venezuela, Ukraine, Turkey, Sweden, South Africa, Portuguese, Egypt, Poland, Romania, Nigeria, Lebanon, Korea, Kenya, Italy, Israel, Ireland, Iran, Haiti, Germany, France, Estonia, Denmark, Croatia, Brazil, Argentina, Albania constitute a large league of football loving nations.

Afghanistan popularly plays a game called Buzkashi, while Belgium is known for football and cycling. Bhutan’s national game is archery and Hong Kong plays a variety of games—dragon boat racing, badminton, rugby, windsurfing and fencing. Columbia plays the traditional game tejo and bullfighting while football is also widely popular. Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico, USA, Dominican Republic are popular for baseball while Fiji is famous for Rugby. Gambia is known for wrestling, Guyana for cricket and Iceland for Glima.

There are nations who have widely spread fan base in more than one sport. In India, people like both hockey and cricket, while the local game of Kho-Kho is also famous locally. In Slovakia, both ice hockey and football are very popular while in Saudi Arabia falconry and horse racing is traditional sport. But football draws the largest number of spectators.

In order of popularity, here are few of the most popular world sports

  • Football/ Soccer: Played fervently in Europe, USA, Latin America and in Africa.
  • Basketball: Popular in Canada, the US, in Europe, Brazil, Argentina and China and Lithuania.
  • Baseball: Most popular sport in US, Venezuela, Central America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Japan.
  • Car Racing: The highest TV rating sport in the World.
  • Tennis: Played worldwide as Wimbledon, Roland Garros, US Open, Australia and the Davis Cup.
  • Athletics: Very popular globally. World Cup is an major athletic event.
  • Golf: Adored in USA and Europe.
  • Boxing. Boxing has worldwide popularity
  • Volleyball: Very popular in Brazil and amongst women worldwide
  • Hockey: Land Hockey is very popular in India and Pakistan. Ice Hockey played in Canada, USA, Russia and Northern Europe.
  • Cricket: Popular in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the West Indies. It is the national sport in England and the third in popularity in Australia and South Africa.
  • Skiing. Most popular in Russia, Europe and USA.
  • Rugby: Popular sport in France, New Zealand, England, South Africa. and Australia.
  • Table Tennis. : The National Sport of China.
  • Martial Arts: Very popular Olympic game
  • Cycling: Olympic sport, it is very popular in Spain
  • Handball: An Olympic Sport.
  • Waterpolo: Popular in Spain.
  • Bull Fighting: Worldwide popularity. Mostly played in Spain and Mexico
  • Badminton: Popular game
  • Polo: Very popular in Argentina.
  • Hurlingham. : Played in Britain and some parts of USA.

There are many sports that have been recognized for Olympic games. Regional influences have been a major factor in popularity of a particular sport in a region. Some sports like soccer gained popularity when English traders, merchants and soldiers introduced the game to different parts of the globe. There are many ends to the puzzle of popularity but the spirit of sports has nothing to do with one particular sport. It has to do with the undying spirit of sports and sheer enjoyment.


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