Popular Sports

Participation in Popular Sports is Common

There are a lot of sports that would claim to be the most popular sports in the world. At times we have heard that soccer is the most popular sport in the world and at other times we have heard that NASCAR is the most popular sport in the world. So which one is it exactly and would it be possible to really find this out for sure? Well, unless you could invest some serious time and effort, you would never be able to truly answer this question. Lucky for us, http://www.johann-sandra.com/popular.htm, is a site that did in fact take the time and effort to answer these questions and more. The rest of this article was interpreted from their site.

First, we found every site on the web that made this bold statement, and sent an e-mail to every one, asking what their sources were, and what statistical information they based their claim on. We received numerous replies, all to the extent of "I heard it somewhere", or "I've always been told that", or "I saw it on another website". Not one webmaster could give us a shred of evidence that his/her claim was true.

So, not to be distraught, we asked the International Federations of each sport which was reputed to be the world's most or second-most popular just how many people were estimated to play their sport worldwide. I've seen statistics based on most watched, or most money made, or most registered players, or most competition entries, but these all seem flawed. We figure that participation is the best measure available of popularity, since the majority of the world doesn't have television, or money to attend sporting events. The vast majority of people who play various sports don't register for teams, or compete in competitions either, such as in Basketball, Soccer, or Tennis, where many more people play just pickup games or recreational.

The results are below Estimates are directly from the International Sports Federations themselves. The Number of Affiliated National Federations comes from the International Olympic Committee. Only the sports who laid claim to the title of most or second-most popular were included in the study. I left out Auto Racing/F1, who for obvious reasons won't even be comparable in participation numbers to the rest of the sports involved. For your inormation, though, the FIA has 119 affiliated national federations.  Soccer, has roughly 242 million participants, which is behind basketball at 400 million, table tennis at 300 million, and of all sports, volleyball at 998 million.  One of the more odd parts of this list was that team handball with 18 million participants was head of popular sports such as hockey at 3 million and rugby at 2 million.

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