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Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World right now 2022

Sports play an important role in our lives. From the early childhood years where we take sports very seriously to the later years in life. Check Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World.
We consider it as a hobby, a fitness ritual, and sometimes even a profession. People are passionate about sports.

They take their sporting heroes as their role models and often have an emotional attachment. People in different regions of the world have different favorite sports. This makes ranking sports quite a challenging and difficult job. 

Check out the top 10 most popular sports in the world.

Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World
Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World

Criteria of Ranking Sports

We have used these criteria to make sure that we can ascertain the popularity of different sports.

The criteria include:

  1. Global Fan Base and Audience
  2. Viewership on TV
  3. TV Rights Deals
  4. Popularity on the Internet
  5. Presence on Social Media
  6. The number of Professional Leagues in the World
  7. Average Salary of Athletes in the Top Leagues
  8. Sponsorship Deals
  9. Number of Countries in Which the Sport is Popular
  10. Biggest Competition
  11. Relevancy Throughout the Year
  12. Gender Equality
  13. Access to the General Public
  14. Number of Amateur Players in The World
  15. The prominence of the sport in sports headlines on print and electronic media

Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World

1. Soccer

Soccer is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries, making it the world’s most popular sport.

The game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The objective of the game is to score by using any part of the body.

The goalkeepers are the only players allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms. Around 3.5 billion follow football which is almost half the world’s population. The sport is enjoyed by fans in almost all regions of the world.

Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World
Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World

2. Cricket

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on a field. It is at the center of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. The two competing teams take turns to bat, attempting to score runs.

While one team is batting, the other team fields. Cricket has three different formats i.e. Test, ODIs, and T20.

Cricket is the most-watched sport in the second most populated country in the world. India, and its subcontinent including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. West Indies, South Africa, and Australia also watch cricket the most. About 2.2 Billion people from around the world watched the Cricket World Cup 2015 on their televisions.

Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World

3. Basketball

Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop high mounted to a backboard at each end.

A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket during regular play. A field goal scores two points for the shooting team if a player is touching or is closer to the basket than the three-point line, and three points if the player is behind the three-point line.

The sport enjoys great TV viewership in the US because of the NBA, the National Basketball league of the US. It is the most popular league in the world and it is watched and followed by millions of fans in the US as well as outside the US, so much so that in 2016, the NBA sold the TV rights deal for a staggering $24 billion for 9 years. 

Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World

4. Hockey

It is a family of sports in which two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball or a puck into the opponent’s goal using a hockey stick. In many areas, one sport typically field hockey or ice hockey is generally referred to as hockey.

Hockey is a family of sports, field hockey is the National game of Pakistan as well as India while ice hockey is popular especially in Canada, the USA, Latvia. The number of combined fans for both forms of hockey reaches around 2.2 billion.

Field hockey is a widely watched sport in the countries of Pakistan, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia, and the Netherlands. Ice hockey has an amazing fan following in Canada and the USA. Both forms of hockey are major sporting events in the Olympics.

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5. Tennis

Tennis is a sport that people usually play individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles).

Each player uses a racket that is strung with a cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent’s court. The object of the game is to play the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a good return.

Modern tennis superstars like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic are known widely around the world and have hundreds of millions of fans throughout the world. While the legends such as Pete Sampras and Boris Becker still get a mention from our elders.

The major competitions of Tennis, the four grand slams, are watched by more than 400 million people around the world.

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6. Volleyball

Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team’s court under organized rules.

Volleyball is a team sport and has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since 1964. It enjoys a fanbase of around 900 million people and is the sixth most popular sport in the world. 

The sport has a vast following around the world including countries such as Brazil, Russia, Japan, China, the USA, Italy, Cuba, and Poland.

Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World

7. Table Tennis

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight ball back and forth using table tennis rackets. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net.

Except for the initial serve, players must allow a ball played towards them only one bounce on their side of the table and must return it so that it bounces on the opposite side.

The fans of table tennis are scattered around the world. With millions of hobbyists, amateur players, and professional players table tennis has a strong fan base of around 900 million people and is the seventh most popular sport in the world. 

The sport is popular in almost all the countries of the world, but only as a hobby and as an amateur sport. There are only a few countries where the sport is popular at the professional level such as China, Sweden, Japan, and South Korea.

Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World

8. Baseball

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of nine players who take turns batting and fielding. The offense attempts to score more runs than its opponent by hitting a ball thrown by the pitcher

It is done with a bat and moving counter-clockwise around a series of four bases: first, second, third, and home plate. A run is scored when the runner advances around the bases and returns to home plate.

There are around 500 million fans of baseball spread across the US, Japan, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, making it the eighth most popular sport in the world. The sport is widely watched in these countries but the viewership is not that good in other countries of the world.

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9. Rugby

Rugby is widely played in France and has a strong tradition in the people of Basque, Occitan, and Catalan areas along the border regions between Spain and France. The game is very popular in South Africa, having been introduced by English-speaking settlers in the 19th century.

British colonists also brought the game with them to Australia and New Zealand, where the game is widely played. It has spread thence to much of Polynesia, having particularly strong followings in Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga

Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World

10. Golf

Golf is a precision club and ball sport in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course using the fewest number of strokes.

It is defined, in the rules of golf, as “playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.”

The game is more popular among the elderly as compared to young people with most of these fans concentrated in the US, Canada, and Europe. The sport enjoys high levels of viewership among male adults belonging to the upper class.

Top 10 ranked Most Popular Sports in The World