Competitive sports are played all over the world, and the joy (and pain) of cheering on your favorite player or team are emotions that transcend culture and geography. In any part of the world, sport is followed, experienced, and loved.
However, depending on the country of origin, tastes are varied and depend on various cultures and traditions, even if the love for the sport is unique and ubiquitous.
For example, in India, the number of cricket fans is obviously much higher than in Italy or Spain, since, in the last two countries mentioned, cricket is not the sport of the country par excellence as in the case of India.
Whether it’s soccer, cricket, basketball or volleyball, everywhere in the world there are fans and enthusiasts of the world in sports, who very often start doing online betting to experience strong emotions during the matches and maybe even win some money in an easy and fun way.
In fact, many fans will already know that many of these reputable websites offer many advantages, such as the ability to bet from home, or sometimes even – for those just starting out – offer the opportunity to bet for free.
And speaking of generating money, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, revenues generated by professional sports account for about 1% of its GDP, shaping the face of the economy for the last century.
But what were the most-watched sports of 2021?
Here are the top 10 most popular sports in the world in descending order that is likely to be repeated for 2022.
- Golf – 450 million fans
Golf has about 450 million fans worldwide. It is most common in parts of North America, Western Europe, and East Asia.
In golf, players try to put the ball in a hole with as few strokes as possible.
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The sport receives global sponsorships from major brands such as BMW, Cadillac, Rolex, Adidas, Nike, and many others.
- Rugby – 475 million fans
Rugby is a contact sport quite similar to American football. It attracts up to 10 million players worldwide, and it’s an inclusive sport for all genders.
However, while rugby players did not have protective gear, American football players had plenty, such as helmets and pads.
The sport is all the rage in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other Commonwealth countries.
The just-concluded Rugby World Cup in Japan has attracted a lot of attention online as various countries make history and experience surprising upsets.
Rugby’s most prestigious tournament attracts the top names in the rugby world, as well as the biggest brands committing significant sponsorship funds.
Brands such as MasterCard, Heineken, Emirates, DHL, and Toshiba, which have sponsored the 2019 Rugby World Cup, are helping to build the foundation of rugby’s popularity.
- Baseball – 500 million fans
Not only is baseball a hobby sport in America, but it’s also the most popular in the Caribbean and East Asia.
Major League Baseball (MLB), the pinnacle of baseball leagues in the world, has about 500 million fans worldwide.
In a test of gender equality, male players largely dominate the sport.
Also, baseball attracts sponsorships from major brands such as Mastercard, Chevrolet, and Papa John’s.
- Basketball – 825 million fans
A trendy sport invented by American-Canadian teacher James Naismith, basketball is now played around the world with an estimated 825 million fans.
There is no denying that basketball is currently one of the most talked-about sports in the world.
The sport also has various women’s leagues around the world, which also attracts media attention.
Basketball fans can attest to the fact that brands are willing to spend millions of dollars on endorsement deals with top basketball players.
These deals have sometimes continued even after the player has retired, as seen in LeBron James and Michael Jordan’s shoe deal with Nike.
- Table tennis – 875 million fans
This sport originated in England in the early 1920s since 2003 has grown to 875 million fans, especially in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Africa.
Although ping pong events do not get the same coverage as other top sports tournaments, they enjoy a moderate number of social media followers and fans worldwide.
- Volleyball – 900 million fans
A sport that attracts up to 900 million fans, volleyball gets a lot of attention around the world, especially in North and South America, Western Europe, Australia, and Asia.
However, it is less televised than other top sports.
Volleyball’s popularity among both sexes is on the rise, making it one of the fastest emerging sports of the modern era.
Brands such as Mikasa, Dick’s Sporting Goods support volleyball events.
- Tennis – 1 billion fans
This is a very intense and physically demanding sport, where surprising upsets are not uncommon.
The emergence of new talent in recent years has helped increase the thrill of competition to the delight of the billions of tennis fans.
Tennis played by both men and women has recently gained excellent media attention, which has captured the attention of brands such as Audemars Piguet, Rolex, and TAG Heuer.
These brands pay tennis stars large sums of money in endorsement and sponsorship deals.
- Field hockey – 2 billion fans
Ice hockey and field hockey are among the most beloved sports in the world.
In the United States, Canada, and Northern Europe, ice hockey gets a lot of attention, which is no different from other regions.
Globally, about 2 billion people follow field hockey, particularly the National Hockey League (NHL).
The men’s and women’s field hockey leagues are also getting a lot of attention from brands like Gatorade, Reebok, and others who are willing to sign sponsorship deals with these teams.
- Cricket – 2.5 billion fans
Cricket is a fantastic sport followed by around 2.5 billion fans, mainly from countries like Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, and India.
Although male-dominated cricket is getting more attention, female-dominated cricket has grown in popularity in recent years.
Cricket also benefits from a good number of promotional offers from various brands, especially bat brands.
- Soccer – 4 billion fans
With about 4 billion fans, soccer is arguably the most popular sport in the world and also the most paid one.
The sport is played by more than 270 million people worldwide (especially in Europe, South and Central America, and Africa) and is at the top of the list of the world’s most-watched sports.
Also, all major soccer tournaments, from the UEFA Champions League to the English Premier League, are widely followed on various social media platforms.
Big brands such as Coca-Cola, Qatar Airways, Pepsi, Nike, Puma, and Adidas have signed multi-million dollar deals with soccer governing bodies such as FIFA and UEFA, as well as top soccer clubs and national teams.
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