Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World in 2018

,When it comes to sports, many contradictions are experienced. Everybody seems to emphasize their favorite sport, which leads to underrating other sports. In fact, most people only know about their favorite sport and understand absolutely nothing about other sports. The contradiction does not just apply to the supporters of the sports alone but also the sports analysts and journalists. Many lists have been generated with attempts to rank the sports and even from those lists; you can see the contradiction. Every list varies from the others depending on the writers’ perspective. However, I have come up with an ideal list of the top ten most popular sports in the world today, taking into consideration not only the global following but also internet appearance, the sports’ stability and the TV views that the sports receive. The list also takes into keen consideration the amount of money that the sports generate.

Table of Contents

10. American Football

Most Popular Sports

For those of us who know little about American Football may be wondering if such a sport even exists and a can confidently say that it does and it has a huge following. The latest reports show that the sport has a following of over four hundred million, which makes it close to basketball when it comes to popularity rankings. In fact, American Football will tie with basketball in the popularity rankings. The tie should not come as a surprise to anybody as we all know that the two sports have their origin in the US.

It is also right to say that the sports are the most popular in the American region than any other region in the globe. NFL is the most popular league in the American Football, and that explains why the sport is most popular in the American region as the league is played in the US. In a single year, the game can generate an approximate of ten billion US dollars as revenue.

9. Basketball

Most Popular Sports

As I said before, another sport that has a massive following is the Basketball. The sports ties with American Football when it comes to popularity rankings. It should not surprise you that the sports also have a major section of its supporters in the American region and that is the area of origin. In fact, people view the US as the home of basketball. The sports have a following of approximately four hundred million and are the ninth most followed sport in the globe.

There was a time when the game was only meant for the country of origin but as time goes; its popularity has also grown. It is expected that the game will be the most popular in the next ten years. The average pay for a player in the basketball game stands at $4.4 million in a year, which makes basketball the game with the highest salary per player. With such amount on just average, you can imagine what the stars of the game carry home in one year.

8. Golf

Most Popular Sports

I have this repeatedly until it now sounds true. Many are the time when people refer to the game of golf as the game of the rich. Some people talk about it as if it is a crime even to watch golf if you are not a millionaire. Allow me for surprising most of you by saying that golf is one of the largest professional prospects in the developed nations like the USA, Britain, Japan, South Africa and even Korea. The sport is ranks position eight in popularity, but that has nothing to do with the revenue it generates.

Moreover, it is the highest revenue generator when it comes to sports, and that is why Athletes like Tiger Woods can easily become the highest paid in the world. What surprises me is the fact that despite the myth that the game is for the rich only, golf has managed to retain a following of over four hundred and fifty billion followers around the world. It looks like the game is not just for the rich after all.

7. Baseball

Most Popular Sports

Did you know that the majority of people in the world live their entire life without holding a baseball bat in their hands? This fact may sound wire for somebody in the USA or Japan where baseball is played even at the street level. Those who have tried the game can testify that it is one of the most enjoyable games that one can ever play. People in areas such as Japan and US tend to be so passionate about the game to the level that some choose to take a career in baseball and this does not happen at adulthood.

Similarly, children want to be baseball players when they grow up, and some eventually realize this dream. The USA and Japan have been recorded to have the biggest leagues of baseball in the whole world, and I am very sure that you have heard of Nippon League and MLB even if you did not know what they were at the time.

6. Table Tennis

Most Popular Sports

The table tennis is yet another game that has provided a platform for many to showcase their talents and make money in the process. That is not all about table tennis as the game is the most played indoor game as a hobby. Research shows that there are no other sports that are played as a hobby that the table tennis. When one is to play the game as a profession, most countries are still locked out. The game is still restricted to a few countries, which include Indonesia, China, and even Malaysia.

To some extent, I would include India in this list of the countries. However, the limitation has not affected the fan base of the sport as it still has a huge following of approximately eight hundred and fifty million supporters.

5. Volleyball

Most Popular Sports

My favorite sport comes at position five. I know majority did not expect this and that includes me. However, we must come to the reality that volleyball has managed position five in this list. This may just be the simplest game ever and maybe the simplicity has something to do with its popularity. I mean how else you could explain this. The game is mostly lived in developing countries with include Poland, Brazil, Kenya, Turkey and even France. The Asians are not entirely lucky when it comes to volleyball, as the game is restricted to Japan and China.

For those of us who are still doubting the popularity of the game, allow me to inform you that the game has a following of over none hundred million followers in the world. This fact is strongly supported by the over two hundred national federations that have registered the game. I can say with confidence that volleyball is the fifth most loved sport in the whole world.

4. Tennis

Most Popular Sports

I know that there is a group of people that do not know the difference between tennis and table tennis and that is may be due to lack of interest in the games. At some point, somebody asked me why I had to split the same game into two and then give them different rankings but that was from a very ignorant perspective. As time goes, I hope that more people will get t love the game and more people will get to understand the game. Even though some people do not know much about tennis, the game still has a huge following. Recent studies point out that the game has slightly over one billion fans from all around the globe. This popularity places tennis at the fourth position in this list.

The most interesting thing about this game is the fact that despite being an individual game, it still has popularity greater than some of the team games. if the game has to be in teams then the largest game will be the four grand slams. While other games have been struggling to achieve gender equality, tennis long achieved it and meets all the equality considerations irrespective of the gender. Both male and female competitions in tennis receive equal funding. This reflects even when it comes to the prices. I would say that where the game of tennis has reached is still just a dream to many other games.

3. Field Hockey

Most Popular Sports

This yet another game that people confuse with cricket because of the dressing code of the players. I cannot blame them for that. When I was young, I hated hockey because of a simple reason. To me, this game was the most dangerous game that one could ever play. The question that I was asking myself was the logic behind giving people weapons and then expects them to use the weapon on a very small ball and fail to use the weapons on each other. However, I later realized that every game has rules and those of field hockey do not allow one player to use the stick on another player.

It has now become one of my favorite games and I can confidently say that I am counted among the over two billion supporters of field hockey. The game enjoys huge following form Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia. I must say that the game enjoys following from some of the most populated regions of the planet and therefore it should not surprise anyone that the game is the third most popular game in the world. In Pakistan, Hokey is the national game while countries like India, Malaysia and China have hockey as the most favorite game.

Ten years ago, the game was widely played in Pakistan and India but this has gone down due to inadequate opportunities. The game has suffered in the hands of giants like football that has diverted attention. If it were not for the still competition for attention by financiers, then hokey would have more professional players than it has now but not all is lost yet, there is still space and opportunity to revive the glory of the field hockey.

2. Cricket

Most Popular Sports

At position, two is Cricket. This is a controversial position for cricket to hold as many people have divergent views. However, it must be noted that cricket has a following of more than 2.5 billion people across the globe. This number may be slightly higher than the recorded 2.5 billion people may. Even though the following is huge, we must also admit that there are regions in the world where people do not know anything about cricket. Also, if they saw the game, they would be wondering how stupid the person who comes up with such a game was to even think of such a useless game. The game is mostly played in Australia, South Asia, and South America and even in the United Kingdom.

In their regions, it is very easy to meet people playing cricket on the streets and the number of professional players of cricket is high. One of the most watched cricket games is the games between the two rivals India and Pakistan. Such a game would come third in the list of most watched after FIFA world cup finals and Spanish el-classic. Although, cricket has become just a passion for most of the players, they do not allow the low revenue generation to stand between them and the game. Cricket is not in the list of the highest revenue generating sports but to the fans; it is a game that they are willing to give their lives.

1. Football/Soccer

Most Popular Sports

If anybody feels that soccer should not be at position one in this list then may be such a person is looking at things from a perspective that we have not discovered yet. The game has a following of approximately four billion people all over the world. Every continent on the planet takes part in this game. However, we must recognize that the real hub of football is in Europe and that is evident from the competitive level at which the game is played. The biggest competitions in soccer are the Champions League and UEFA, which are both played in Europe.

In terms of revenue, football is still the highest revenue. The list of the highest paid athlete’s is full of footballers and that should not surprise anybody. The richest footballer today is Christiano Renaldo who has a net worth of three hundred and seventy five million dollars.


Several other sports have a good number of people following them. However, the ones  mentioned above are the most supported in the whole world.