A Worldwide Look at the Most Popular Sports by Country

Soccer and basketball are two of the most well-known sports, with fans in every corner of the globe. However, there are other sports that are extremely well-liked in some parts of the world but largely unknown in others.

In this article, we’ll look at what sports the fans call their favorites. Join us as we take a trip around the globe and discover the most popular sport by country.

most popular sport by country

North America

North America, in particular the United States, is home to a wide variety of popular sports. Basketball and American football are enjoyed by fans from coast to coast, while baseball, the great “American pastime” originated here and enjoys an important tradition in the entire region.

Other popular sports include ice hockey and NASCAR racing, both of which boast sizable fanbases in both Canada and the US.


American football, baseball, and basketball are among the most popular sports in the United States. American football is by far the most popular sport, with an estimated 37% of Americans calling themselves fans. It is also one of the most popular sports in the world as the National Football League (NFL) is watched around the globe.

Basketball comes in second, with approximately 11% of Americans saying they follow the sport. Baseball is third, with around 9% of Americans listing it as their favorite sport. While American football may be the most popular sport overall, basketball and baseball are more popular among younger Americans.

These sports have a long history in the United States and continue to be some of the most popular spectator sports in the country.


There are a variety of popular sports in Canada, from hockey to soccer. However, three sports stand out as the most popular among Canadians.

Ice hockey is Canada’s national sport. The top Canadian teams are in the National Hockey League (NHL) where they compete against the best US teams. Not only is it the country’s national sport, but it is also one of the most popular sports in the world, as it is played across Europe and some Asian countries as well.

Lacrosse is another popular sport in Canada. Although it is not as widely played as hockey, it has a large and passionate following. Finally, soccer is also a hugely popular sport in Canada.


Soccer is by far the most popular sport in Mexico. A group of miners who emigrated from Cornwall, England brought the sport into the country in the late 19th century.

Mexico also has a long tradition of boxing, and it has produced some world-famous fighters such as Canelo Álvarez and Rubén Olivares.


Cricket is one of the most played sports in the world. Countries like India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka adopted the game while they were part of the British Empire. Today, these countries have the most passionate following for the sport.

Association football is another sport that is widely followed in Asia, with countries like China, Japan, and South Korea having strong national teams.

Other popular sports in Asia include tennis, badminton, and golf. Asian athletes have also been making a mark on the global stage in recent years, with athletes like Liu Xiang and Yao Ming becoming household names.


China is a country with a long and rich history, and its nationals have developed a wide range of unique sports and games.

Among the most popular sports in China are badminton, table tennis, and basketball.

Basketball is a relatively new sport in China, but as one of the most famous sports in the world, it has quickly become one of the country’s most popular games. Thanks to the success of Chinese players in the NBA, basketball has gained a huge following in recent years.

Badminton dates back centuries in China, and it remains one of the country’s most popular pastimes. Table tennis is another sport with ancient roots in China.

South Korea

A wide range of sports are popular in the country, from traditional games like jegichagi (a type of Korean kickball) to more modern pursuits like golf and soccer. However, the most popular sport in Korea is baseball.

Every year, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) League attracts huge crowds of fans. The league consists of 10 teams, each representing a different city or region. Some of the most popular teams include the Doosan Bears, the LG Twins, and the Samsung Lions.

baseball stadium

(source: pexels.com)


Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world. In a nation as culturally diverse as India, it has come to represent national unity.

The game has a rich history in the country, dating back to the 18th century. The Indian team gained Test match status and played its first Test Match at Lord’s Cricket Ground in 1932 against England.

Badminton is another popular sport in India and is often played in parks and playgrounds. Field hockey is also popular, particularly in the northern states.

However, it is cricket that continues to capture the imagination of the Indian public. From the explosive batting of Virat Kohli to the versatility of MS Dhoni, cricket provides endless entertainment for fans across the country.


Among the most popular sports in Pakistan are cricket, field hockey, polo, and squash.

However, when it comes to the question of what sport is the most popular among Pakistan fans, the answer is undoubtedly cricket. Pakistan has produced some of the greatest cricket players in the world, including Imran Khan and Wasim Akram, masters of reverse swing.

Field hockey is also a popular sport in Pakistan, and the national team has won three Olympic gold medals.

Squash is another popular sport in Pakistan, and the country has produced several world champions, including Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan.

All of these sports are enjoyed by millions of people in Pakistan and play an important role in the country’s culture.


Japanese sports have deep roots in the country’s culture. Sumo wrestling is perhaps the most well-known sport in Japan and has been practiced for centuries.

However, baseball is Japan’s most popular sport, and the country has produced several Major League Baseball stars such as Ichiro Suzuki and more recently Shohei Ohtani who was the American League’s MVP for 2021.

As one of the world’s most popular sports, soccer is also big in Japan. The national team has enjoyed success in recent decades winning the AFC Asian Cup four times, and qualified for the last seven FIFA World Cup’s in a row.

In addition, many Japanese sports fans enjoy watching and playing basketball, tennis, and golf.

basketball hoop

(source: pexels.com)


Association football is perhaps the biggest sport in the world, and Europe is certainly no exception. In countries like England, Spain, Italy, and France, soccer is the most popular sport by far. Other popular sports in this region include basketball, rugby, tennis, and cycling.


According to a recent survey, more than half of all British adults name soccer as their favorite sport.

Being a soccer fan in the UK is something else compared to the rest of Europe. England is, after all, the place where the story of soccer first began. Supporting your local club means much more than passing the time watching the Sunday game, it is a significant component of their identity and community.

Other popular sports in the UK include rugby, cricket, and tennis. However, there are two sports that Brits seem to be interested in even more – boxing and motorsports.


When looking at what is the most popular sport in each country, we notice that the Irish differ from most of Europe. In Ireland, Gaelic football, a sport similar to rugby, attracts the biggest audience. The number two sport is reserved for another traditional Irish sport – hurling, while association football is just third on the list.


Spain is a country with a deep passion for sports. From the traditional bullfights of Andalusia to the coastline soccer tournaments of Catalonia, Spaniards love to compete and watch others compete.

However, when it comes to the most popular sport in Spain, there is no doubt that it is soccer. The famous Tiki-Taka soccer style originated in Catalonia and went on to conquer the world.


In France, the most popular sport is association football. The French national soccer team has won the FIFA World Cup twice, in 1998 and 2018. Famous soccer clubs in France include Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique de Marseille, and AS Monaco.


Soccer, the world’s most popular sport, is the number one sport in Germany. Die Mannschaft, as the German national team is nicknamed, is one of the most successful teams in the world, having won the World Cup four times.

The Bundesliga, the top level of German club soccer, is also highly competitive and features some of the best players in the world.


Africa has a rich and diverse sporting heritage. The main sport is soccer, but other team sports like rugby, cricket, and field hockey are still popular in countries that were once under the rule of the British Empire.

Kenya and Ethiopia have very strong traditions of producing famous long-distance runners.

In Northern African countries like Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt handball has strong roots and has been traditionally ranked among the most popular sports.


Association football is the most popular sport in Morocco, followed by basketball and handball. Soccer is a particularly important part of Moroccan culture, with the national team achieving significant success in recent years.

Basketball has also gained popularity in recent years, with the national team enjoying success on the international stage. Handball remains one of the most popular team sports in Morocco, with the national team often ranked among the best in the world.


Kenya is a country with a long and proud tradition of athletic achievement. Among the most popular sports in Kenya are track and field, soccer, cricket, and rugby.

Kenya has produced some of the world’s greatest runners, including Olympic gold medalists Eliud Kipchoge and David Rudisha.

Cricket is another popular sport, with Kenya competing in several ICC tournaments.

South Africa

If you ask South African fans what is the most popular sport in their country, you’ll likely hear soccer and learn about Bafana Bafana, as it’s the favorite national team. Soccer’s popularity is closely followed by rugby and cricket.

The popularity of soccer can be traced back to the early days of the sport in the country. Introduced to South Africa by British colonists in the 19th century, soccer soon became popular among the black population, drawn to the game’s physicality and potential for social change.

South America

South America is home to some of the world’s most devoted sports fans, with soccer by far the most popular sport.


Few countries are as passionate about soccer as Argentina. The sport has been deeply intertwined with the country’s culture and history for nearly a century, and today, it remains the most popular sport in Argentina.

The Argentine national team has won the FIFA World Cup twice, and its club teams have won numerous international titles.

Being the most famous sport in the world, soccer has made many of the country’s top players household names. Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, and Sergio Aguero are just a few of the world-famous players who hail from Argentina.

The passion for soccer runs deep in the country, and local derby between Boca Juniors and River Plate is, perhaps, the most ferocious derby on the planet.


Brazil is a soccer country. You can see it being played in every corner of every city – on the grounds, on the streets,even on the beach. Brazilians naturally bring flair and rhythm to their game and play soccer with a special kind of joy that makes their style famous the world over.

Also, the Brazilian national team is one of the most successful in the world, boasting five FIFA World Cup titles. Pelé is a well-known name and the hero of a great sports film documenting his legendary status in Brazil and abroad.

When discussing the most popular sports by country there are other sports worth mentioning. Volleyball, for example, is a hugely popular spectator sport, and Brazil has won multiple Olympic gold medals. Similarly, basketball has a large following in Brazil, with several players going to the NBA over the years.


In the region of Oceania, the sports that have traditionally been popular are rugby and cricket. The reason is partly historical, as these sports were introduced by European settlers in the 19th century.

However, there are also other factors that contribute to their popularity, such as the climate and geography of Oceania as these sports are well-suited to the outdoor lifestyle and natural landscape of the region.


If you had to guess, what would you say is the most popular sport in Australia? If you said cricket, you’re close, but not quite right.

The most popular sport in Australia is actually Australian rules football. Australian football is a unique sport that combines elements of both rugby and football. It is played on a large oval-shaped field with two teams consisting of 18 players each.

Australian rules football might not be the biggest sport in the world, but for Aussie fans, there is no substitute.

New Zealand

It should come as no surprise that the most popular sport in New Zealand is rugby. The country has a long history with the game, dating back to 1870 when the first rugby match was played in Nelson.

Since then, the sport has become deeply ingrained in the national identity, with many Kiwis growing up playing rugby.

The All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby team, are particularly revered and have consistently been one of the best teams in the world. Rugby is not only popular among Kiwis but also tourists; many come to New Zealand specifically to catch a match.

Final Thoughts

This is where we conclude our list of the world’s favorite sports by country. The most popular sport is evidently soccer, but there are plenty of other sports that people love to watch and play all over the globe.

We hope you enjoyed the trip, and the next time you’re in a new part of the world, look for some of the locally most exciting sporting events.


What is America’s biggest sport?

Football is America’s biggest sport. It is the most popular sport in the country, with more than twice as many fans as basketball, the second most popular sport. Football is also the most popular sport in terms of betting, with close to $180 million wagered on the Super Bowl alone in 2022.

What sport makes the most money?

With $17.4 billion in annual revenue, the NFL generates the most money of any single league. In comparison, the NBA generated around $10 billion in operating income for 2021-22 season.

What is the No. 1 sport in the world?

When it comes to the most popular sport by country, soccer is played in over 200 countries and is the leading sport globally. If you’re looking for a sport that everyone can enjoy, look no further than soccer – the world’s number one game.