With the football associations of over 200 countries affiliated to the sport’s governing body, FIFA, soccer is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the world. Soccer is a sport that attracts big attendances at live games worldwide, and games from top European leagues are screened to huge audiences around the world on TV. For the 2010 World Cup, TV viewing figures revealed that half the world’s population watched at least part of one game.
Merely by way of the fact that cricket is the most popular sport in India, a country with a population of over a billion people, the game has to be considered one of the most popular sports in the world. Though there are far fewer teams than soccer at international level, cricket is popular in other countries with sizeable populations such as Pakistan and Bangladesh.
As with cricket, the fact that basketball is popular in countries with huge populations, i.e. the United States and China, means that that it is enough to make it one of the world’s most popular sports. Basketball is also hugely popular all across Europe, and the NBA finals are screened in more than 200 countries.
Tennis is the leading individual sport in the world. While, the fact that dozens of different countries are represented by the world’s top 100 players, underlines the sport’s global appeal. In terms of TV viewing figures, Wimbledon is one of the most watched annual sporting events globally.
Another sport that’s huge in the US, baseball is also the most popular sport in another major country, namely Japan. Attendances at live matches in both countries are even higher, on average, than for any of the major soccer leagues.
The Superbowl is the most popular sporting event in the US. In recent years, American Football has been branching out in other parts of the world and the Superbowl is now popular in the UK.