Top-10 Most-Watched Sports Worldwide


Posted: July 7, 2020

Updated: July 7, 2020

  • 10 most popular kinds of sport in the world - can you name them all?
  • Based on several criteria, the most-watched sports were ranked
  • Football, ice hockey, table tennis - what else is on the list?

If you will be asked about the most-watched sports worldwide, can you name the first ten picks? There will obviously be football, basketball, hockey, and tennis, but what kinds of sports occupy other positions? We have ranked 10 most popular sports competitions in the world based on several criteria: from viewership coverage to merch sales.

Sport is life. Everyone should have heard this phrasing at least once in life. Almost all people in the world are somehow involved in sports: they either do it or watch. We are going to speak about the latter today. 

There are countless types of sports nowadays; even the most popular ones have subcategories followed by millions. However, there are 10 titans that are unbeatable if speaking about their influence and popularity. We will rank them from the least to the most-watched following these criteria:

  • Most viewers, fans & followers
  • Sponsorship and investment
  • Best selling merch
  • TV coverage
  • Most popular competitions and players

Let’s go!

Most-watched sports worldwide #10: golf

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world, according to the statistics. On average, there are around 400 million golf fans in Europe and North America. Unlike most sports on this list, golf is popular mostly among older generations. However, it wouldn’t have hit the top-10 if golf hadn’t had fans among youth. Lots of people bet on golf, which causes its popularity on the Internet. Add to this brand sponsorships and one of the most-watched sports worldwide is here.

You can bet on golf competitions too at online gambling sites in the UK.

Rugby is 9th most popular sport

Rugby is an English kind of sport similar to football, but here players have an oval ball and play with their hands. On average, 400-410 million people follow rugby competitions. This sport is the most popular in European countries: France, the UK, as well as in New Zealand and Australia. There are a lot of famous rugby players such as Owen Farrel or Alun Wyn Jones. Rugby is also relatively popular in the US, which gives it the #9.

most-watched sports worldwide
Rugby is the ninth.

People’s 8th favorite sport is baseball

By the 2019 statistics, baseball is the 8th most popular sport in the world. The game has the most fans in North and South America as well as Japan and Australia. Like other kinds of sport, baseball has its own professional leagues and superstars. The promotion of baseball in many Hollywood films had also influenced the popularity of this game. Approximately 500 million people follow baseball matches across the globe. 

Popular sports – table tennis is #7

With more than 900 million people watching, table tennis places at number 7 on the list of the most popular sports. This game is well-known on almost all continents, with Europe, Asia, and Africa at the top. TV has influenced the popularity of table tennis the most as people follow the majority of competitions live. Although some people may think that watching table tennis matches is boring, it is far from the truth. Just read about the longest table tennis match and see how interesting this game can be.

Volleyball holds the 6th spot on the list

Volleyball is one of the most-watched sports worldwide. This popular team sport game counts around 1 billion fans in Europe, Asia, both Americas, and Australia. Thanks to the 1964 Olympics, volleyball became one of the top sports in the world. Another reason why this game won people’s hearts is its accessibility. Unlike golf or baseball, you don’t need special equipment to play. Even amateurs can play volleyball if they have a ball and a group of friends.

Most-watched sports worldwide #5: tennis

Tennis places 5th on the list of the most popular sports. It is one of the favorite sports of British Royals as well as one of the most followed games ever. Even if you are far from tennis, you know such legendary players as Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, or Roger Federer. According to statistics, more than 1 billion people watch tennis in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. It is also one of the most broadcast sports with plenty of leagues and professional tournaments.

Ice hockey is 4th most popular sport

Here come the titans. Ice hockey hits the 4th position with more than 2 billion fans worldwide. Although it is a winter sport, hockey is extremely popular regardless of the season. Most of its fans live in Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia. In addition, ice hockey games are widely covered by TV and attract many viewers. In addition, there is a field hockey which adds points to its “big brother”.

most-watched sports worldwide
Hockey is the 4th.

Basketball games enter the top-3

With 2.5-3 billion fans, basketball enters the top-3 of the most-watched sports worldwide. Its games are extremely popular in North America and Asia, while its most famous league is the NBA. Basketball gave the world such big stars as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. Players’ salaries are high, merch is one of the best-selling, while media coverage is also satisfying. All this makes basketball one of the most popular sports to follow and to bet on at Bet365 Sportsbook.

The second best selling sport is cricket

The silver medal holder may be unexpected for some people, but it is true. Cricket is more popular than basketball, tennis, and rugby with around 3 billion fans in the world. The majority of these people are from South Asia, the UK, and its post-colonial countries. The team game’s competitions like the ICC Cricket World Cup are watched by more than 2.5 billion people, while its media popularity is also growing. 

Football is the most popular sport ever

Is there anyone having doubts about the leader? Football is predictably the most popular sport in the world. According to the stats, more than 3.5 billion people watch football. We didn’t even count American soccer fans! Together with its “younger brother”, football will be unbeatable with approximately 4 billion followers. There is nothing to say about the merch and popularity of international competitions like the World Cup or Euro. Football also brought the world the most famous athletes ever – David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Pele, Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Maradona, and many others. 

Bet on football and the EPL in particular at online sportsbooks in the UK.

You can discover more about Bet365 Sportsbook here.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments