There is no doubt about the fact that since the notion of sports is all about competition, excitement, and thrill, not only for the ones directly involved but also for those who enjoy watching it. It is one of the most profitable institutions for making money and even instrumental in driving the economy of a nation or even a continent. Having said that no sport is equal to the other, and while this world has a zillion variety of sports, played either for leisure or profession. There are those that occupy top slots simply because of the money they make and pay. This article therefore gives you a list of the world’s most popular sports by sheer numbers.
Estimated followers: 4 billion
The Granddaddy of all sporting events around the world, Football has its origins in dispute. Some say it started off in China while others argue that it was the Greeks and the Romans who came up with the game. But the modern interpretation of the sport can be traced to England which made it be the sport it is today. The number of followers is so many that every second person in the world is a football fan, majorly because of the fact that it just needs a ball and some decent ground to start with.
Estimated followers: 2.5 billion
Cricket needs no introduction. Played initially as a garden game between players of England and their counterparts in the Australian colony, cricket in the modern world has achieved cult proportions, with very few nations left out as participants. The Cricket World cup that occurs every four years and IPL every year are considered truly mega and expensive global event with Australia, England, and India being the most successful team of all time.
- Field hockey
Estimated followers: 2 billion
A very popular Sport in the Commonwealth, Field Hockey is akin to football with the only difference is the fact that the ball is much smaller and is driven around by a especially shaped bat rather than the players’ feet. Nations like India, Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh are champions in the sport and their players are considered national heroes.
Estimated Followers: 1 Billion
The first entry in our list to touch the 1 billion mark in the number of followers, Tennis is often taken in as a fever when the tournament starts. A game with European origins, it has evolved into a sport of worldwide proportions that spews money and sponsorship few others can hold a candle against, with its players becoming millionaires and even billionaires if they are at the right place at the right time.
Estimated followers: 900 million
Where there’s a beach, there has got to be a game of volleyball. Again a product of the US in the late 19th century, it is yet again a very simple yet exciting game nonetheless and places special demands on physical strength and activity.
- Table Tennis
Estimated followers: 875 million
Despite its unassuming presence, and the fact that its known by the comical name of “Ping Pong”, Table Tennis is a relatively simple game but is really exciting to watch and play. It was made memorable in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump. Go watch it if you haven’t already.
Estimated followers: 825 million
Originated in the late 19th century by a certain Dr. James Naismith of Massachusetts, USA, Basketball today has evolved to be one of the most followed and highly paid sports in the world. Athletes who have made their name in the sport have become world renowned celebrities, Michael Jordan being a prime example.
Estimated followers: 500 million
One of the staples of popular American culture, Baseball, has a huge fan following not only in the United States and it’s neighboring countries, but in the whole world, especially in Japan. Two teams of 9 players each play with a specially designed bat and ball to score runs, and as the number of followers indicate, it promises a lot of thrill and excitement.
Estimated followers: 475 million
Most notably played in the European countries and places where the British Empire had its sway during the 18th and 19th centuries, Rugby is a very physical sport involving 2 teams of 15 players each that attracts a large audience looking for a good dose of the adrenaline rush.
Estimated followers: 450 million
Widely known as the “Gentleman’s game,” Golf has a large and cult following among the cream of the business crop. Almost every business person you’d come across would love Golf one way or the other. What’s more, it’s very relaxing and at the same time a totally exhilarating sport.
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