10 most popular sports

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Sports competitions have existed since ancient times. But if earlier they were considered a reflection of the strength of the body and spirit of contemporaries, today it is a profitable business and an incredibly popular form of leisure, as well as a brilliant career. What sports are among the most popular in the world in 2019? When creating the top ten, two main criteria were taken into account – entertainment, which attracts millions of spectators and fans, as well as the financial capabilities of prominent representatives of the sports discipline.

Nomination a place Kind of sport Number of fans
top 10 most popular sports 10 Volleyball 300 million people
9 Hockey 500 million people
8 Boxing 550 million people
7 Formula 1 600 million people
6 Figure skating 700 million people
5 skiing 750 million people
4 Athletics 900 million people
3 Tennis 1 billion people
2 Basketball 1.2 billion people
1 Football 4 billion people


Popularity rating: 4.1


  1. Max Athlete Income: $ 1.4 million
  2. Fans worldwide: 300 million

The home of this energetic and exciting sport is the United States. The game with the ball over the net has long gone beyond gyms and moved to the seaside: today beach volleyball is confidently moving forward in the ranking of popular sports games in the world in terms of the number of participants and spectators of various competitions.

Although volleyball is considered a young sports discipline, it is he who is the leader in the number of Olympic awards, most of which, by the way, were won back in Soviet times. Volleyball is a simple game, but it requires good physical fitness and thoughtful technique. The most widespread sports discipline was in Poland, China, Thailand, and Brazil (according to some sources, volleyball there has become even more popular than football).

The first official volleyball tournament was held back in 1922, and today the international association of this sport is the largest in the world and has 218 participating countries. Volleyball is a very exciting game, because it is no coincidence that several hundred million people participate in it and enjoy the spectacle.

An interesting fact: the pitch of a professional volleyball player is so powerful that the speed of the ball can reach 130 km / h.


Popularity rating: 4.2


  1. Max Athlete Income: $ 13 million
  2. Fans worldwide: 500 million

For many years now, fans of hockey have been watching with bated breath the movement of a small black puck across the ice 'field', and among them there are many who would like to receive it as a valuable memorable present. Hockey is one of the key disciplines of the Winter Olympic Games and is incredibly popular in countries such as the USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, etc.

Canada is considered the birthplace of a difficult team sports competition and there it is a national sport. Professional hockey is a complex game that requires not only physical fitness from the participants, but also persistent, constantly improving technique. Hockey is loved all over the world, and in terms of the number of people involved in the game it is second only to football.

The world's most famous and largest professional ice hockey league (NHL) includes 5 sports leagues, and the annual income from all ice hockey games held in the world reaches 4 billion dollars.


Popularity rating: 4.3


  1. Max athlete income: $ 285 million (2018 data)
  2. Fans worldwide: 550 million

Among all the martial arts existing in the world, boxing can be considered the undisputed favorite in terms of the number of viewers: millions of people with great interest watch boxing fights not only live in the ring, but also on TV screens. It is impossible not to take into account the colossal amounts of funds invested in this sport, which makes it one of the most financially significant among martial arts.

Boxing began to gain its popularity about half a century ago: the public began to take an active interest in not just amateur, but professional fights, and fights of venerable athletes, especially heavyweights, gathered full houses. It is noteworthy that not only men, but also women are involved in this sport: boxing in the person of the fair sex is in no way inferior in popularity to men.

Huge amounts of money are involved in boxing, and the fate of both advancing and already famous boxers is decided by 4 world boxing associations: WBA, WBA, WBC and IBF. Boxing is most widespread in the USA, Russia, Great Britain, Poland, Japan and Mexico. Included in the Summer Olympics.

Formula 1

Popularity rating: 4.4

Formula 1

  1. Max Athlete Income: $ 57 million
  2. Fans worldwide: 600 million

Car racing appeared a long time ago – almost immediately after the appearance of the first car models and gained a lot of admirers. It is not without reason that speed is considered one of the most powerful sources of adrenaline, not only for the rider, but also for the audience. Modern motor sport is represented by many different races, but the famous Formula 1 is considered the undisputed 'queen' among them.

Every year, several countries host this large-scale and spectacular race: its various stages, and there are 20 of them in total, are held on specially equipped stadiums and open-air tracks (the Monaco Grand Prix, for example) from spring to late autumn. In addition to the entertainment, the Formula 1 car race is also considered the most profitable in the world: the annual income from its stages around the world brings organizers and participants of the competition a couple of billion dollars in total.

Figure skating

Popularity rating: 4.5

Figure skating

  1. Max income: $ 8 million
  2. Fans worldwide: 700 million

A variety of speed skating and one of the most elegant sports in both singles and doubles. The performance of any representative of this sports discipline is based on spins, jumps, combined steps, changing the direction of sliding, etc. According to a number of rules, an athlete's program must include certain figures, which served as the name for this sport.

According to historians, the American figure skater Jackson Heinz played a significant role in the development of figure skating in Europe (including Russia). His tour of European ice rinks aroused general admiration of his contemporaries, and representatives of our time unanimously recognize him as the ancestor of the modern style of performing elements of this graceful and complex sport on ice.


Popularity rating: 4.6


  1. Max Athlete Income: $ 0.8 million
  2. Fans worldwide: 750 million

Has gained intercontinental popularity over the past 20 years. The most popular sport in the Nordic countries. It includes many interesting and difficult disciplines: slalom, racing, biathlon, etc. By the way, most of them are obligatory 'participants' of the Olympic Games. The most spectacular sport of the presented varieties is undoubtedly considered biathlon: a kind of synthesis of a speed race among skiers and a test of their accuracy in shooting. The most popular biathlon competition is the World Cup.

Alpine skiing is so popular even among non-professionals that it can be found in hot countries. Unbelievable, but true: you can ride the ski slope in the desert. Such an opportunity is provided by a snow resort in Dubai (UAE): in a closed pavilion, sub-zero temperatures are maintained all year round, and the artificial slopes are covered with a 70-centimeter layer of snow.


Popularity rating: 4.7


  1. Max Athlete Income: $ 21 million
  2. Fans worldwide: 900 million

'Queen of Sports' – athletics dates back to the ancient Olympic Games, which first started in Greece. It is one of the most popular, well-known and multi-layered sports. The latter implies the many disciplines that it includes.

Athletics gained the largest army of fans in Europe, and at the Olympic Games this is the most anticipated event. 2012 is considered a striking stroke in the history of this unique sports category: the final 100 meters then became the most anticipated sporting event in history.

All-around is one of the most interesting and requiring all-round physical development. It includes shot put, long and high jump, running, discus throw, etc.


Popularity rating: 4.8


  1. Max Athlete Income: $ 93.4 million
  2. Fans worldwide: 1 billion people

This sport has given the world a considerable number of sports stars, and among its fans there are even persons of royal blood. It took tennis just a few decades to win over a huge audience. Tennis competitions are held on special courts with various surfaces – grass, soil, carpet, etc.

Despite the seeming simplicity, this sport requires not only considerable emotional endurance, but also considerable physical preparation: strength, endurance and reaction speed – there is no place for the weak in tennis. For the first time as a modern sport, tennis began its formation a couple of centuries ago and it was called 'law tennis'.

Today there are several world tennis competitions, but the most prestigious is the victory in the Grand Slam tournaments (French Open, USA Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon). Few athletes have managed to become a leader on all four courts in one season. Among them are Rod Laver (Australia) – the only tennis player who managed to win the Grand Slam in one season, as well as two tournament winners – Margaret Court (Australia) and Steffi Graf (Germany).


Popularity rating: 4.9


  1. Max Athlete Income: $ 89 Million
  2. Fans worldwide: 1.2 billion people

One of the few team games that, along with football, attracts the attention of a billion audience. This is one of the most rated sports, developing at a rapid pace: in a couple of years, basketball will be able to confidently go 'toe-to-toe' with football. There are a huge number of basketball leagues in the world, in the number of which this sport, again, is second only to football.

Basketball has gained the greatest popularity in the United States, where the stars of this team ball game earn tens of millions of dollars annually. Basketball is also popular in China, Russia, Argentina, Italy, France, etc. The game is so widespread in the world that even at the stations of Antarctica there are basketball baskets, where workers of the polar regions can throw a ball in moments of rest. The army of basketball fans has long passed over a billion, and the outstanding representatives of this sports discipline may well compete in terms of fame with eminent Hollywood stars.


Popularity rating: 5.0


  1. Max Athlete Income: $ 127 million
  2. Fans worldwide: 4 billion people

The absolute world leader, the most widespread in Europe, known since medieval times. Great Britain is considered the ancestor of this exciting sport for millions of people. It was in this country that football matches took place for the first time as we know them today, and it was also here that the first football club was formed.

Today in the world there are hundreds of football sports clubs, as well as many special sports associations, as well as various competitions. Among the most important, significant and spectacular are, of course, the Champions League, the World Cup, as well as the national leagues of the five countries – France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Britain.

And, although the world championship is considered the most massive and important, the largest prize pool is 'spinning' in the Champions League, where teams from European countries fight for a whopping $ 1.5 billion. Any of the significant football events annually gathers a lot of fans in stadiums and in front of TV screens: they all follow the events on the football field with bated breath.

Although the sports presented in the ranking are not similar to each other, they also have one thing in common – the desire for success, which is an incredible driving force for athletes and phenomenally increases popularity among ordinary people.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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