Sports have become so widespread, so prevalent that it has spilled over into our way of life, much like religion or politics. But have you ever wondered which among them are the most popular? Today, we’ll talk about five of the most well-known sports that you may want to watch should you choose to travel to that part of the world.
The world’s most popular sport is football or soccer. How popular? Some sources say the sport has a fan base of 2.5 billion, while others say 5 million. Either way, football is played in more than 200 countries all over the world. Football fans are probably the world’s most hardcore, because even most mellow and polite of its enthusiasts easily go into a rage when watching a game. Some have even resorted to unruly behaviour.
The sport’s largest event is the FIFA World Cup, a competition played every four years to determine the world’s best football team. The 1994 World Cup in the U.S. is currently the largest in history with a staggering 3.59 million in attendance. Ranking second is the 2006 event with 3.36 million.
Originating from England, cricket is the country’s national sport, although oddly, it has no national team of its own since it shares a squad with Wales. On a global scale, cricket is played in many corners of the globe, but is wildly popular in Australia, the U.K., New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Caribbean countries. Here’s proof: the 2011 Cricket World Cup had an attendance of 672,000 and a TV audience of approximately 2.2 billion in around 200 countries worldwide.
Basketball is wildly popular in like the U.S., China, Europe, and the Philippines. Estimates say that the sport has over a billion spectators worldwide. The sport’s top league is the National Basketball Association, whose athletes are the best paid in the world in terms of average salary. It’s not really a surprise, considering that the recent 2012 NBA Finals (between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder) had an average viewership of over 16 million.
Tennis is another game that began in England. Since its inception in the late 19th century, tennis has become one of the most popular spectator sports in the world, especially its four Grand Slam tournaments, which are watched by millions of fans. These Grand Slam events are namely:
- The Australian Open Played in hard courts, the Australian Open is usually held in the middle of January. The event is one of the most watched in Australia.
- The French Open Otherwise known as Roland Garros, the French Open is normally held between late May and early June.
- Wimbledon Held in London, the Wimbledon Championships is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It’s held in late June and early July.
- The U.S. Open Since 1988, the U.S. Open has been the last tennis Major held each year, usually in late August and early September.
The sport of hockey is played and watched by millions worldwide. It’s popular in countries like the U.S., Canada, Germany, Spain, India, the U.K., Australia, Netherlands, Argentina, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Holland, South Korea, Malaysia, and parts of Africa. In fact, hockey has become so entrenched that variations like ice hockey, field hockey and street hockey have become popular as well.
Other Global News
The Korean comfort women: An lingering issue for the Korean government