Which is the most popular sport in America?-Top 5 revealed

Which is the most popular sport in America?-Top 5 revealed

Sports play a vital role in American culture, and just like any other part of the world, it’s an instrument of cohesion and integration. It is interesting to note that soccer is the most popular sport in most parts of the world. This is in sharp contrast to America, where soccer occupies the position of the fourth most populous sport while the most popular sport is a sport barely played anywhere else in the world. So, this brings into question, which is the most popular sport in America? Read along as we highlight and discuss some of the most popular sports in America.

Which is the most popular sport in America?-Top 5 revealed
What is the most popular sport in America? Read along to find out more. Photo: Lewis Mulatero, Robert Decelis and Henrik (modified by Author)
Source: Getty Images

Baseball, basketball, ice hockey, American football, and soccer make up America’s “five major sports”. Of the mentioned sports, which one do you think is the most popular? This article will also address that, so read along, and here are the top five most popular sports in America.

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Top 5 most popular sports in America

  • American football- National Football League (NFL)
  • Baseball- Major Baseball League (MLB)
  • Basketball- National Basketball Association (NBA)
  • Ice hockey-National Hockey League (NHL)
  • Soccer-Major League Soccer (MLS)

Most popular sports in America

The sports market in America has a valuation of $80.5 billion as of 2022 and is expected to grow to $83.1 billion next year. This valuation is 50% more than all the major leagues in Europe, the middle east, and Africa combined, making it the most lucrative sports market globally.

The popularity of sports in America is aided by extensive domestic media coverage, with exceptional players being made superstars almost overnight. Another fact that makes Sports popular in America is their association with the education system, with college sports being an integral part of American culture.

So, based on your own judgment, what are the most popular sports in America? Well, let’s look at the “five major sports” as stated earlier.

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5. Ice Hockey

A truly classic American innovation, with 4% of Americans considering Ice hockey as their favourite sport, is the fifth most popular sport. National Hockey League (NHL) is the fifth-wealthiest professional league globally, behind the English Premier League.

Which is the most popular sport in America?-Top 5 revealed
Ice Hockey players battling it out during a match. Over the years, the sports has grown to become one of the most popular sports in America. Photo: Scott Rovak
Source: Getty Images

Ice hockey was developed in Canada, most notably in Montreal, sometimes in the 1870s, before spreading south to their Immediate neighbours, the USA.

Stanley Cup, America’s oldest professional sports trophy, awarded to National Hockey League playoff champions, is considered by the International Ice Hockey Federation as one of the most important championships available.

National Hockey League Profile Summary

  • Founded: 1917
  • Number of teams: 32
  • Commissioner: Garry Bettman
  • Participating countries: Canada (7 teams) and the USA (25 teams)
  • Team with most titles: Montreal Canadiens
  • Most recent champion: Tampa bay Lightning
  • Greatest player of all time: Gordie Howie
  • Website: nhl.com
  • Instagram: @nhl
  • Twitter: @nhl

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4. Soccer

By December 2021, Industry analysts and critics alike believed soccer surpassed Ice Hockey to be the fourth most popular sport in America.

Soccer, commonly know as 'football' in other parts of the world, is not a relatively new sport in America. The Major League Soccer began in 1996 with just 10 participating teams, and has experienced its ups and downs ever since. However, it is now enjoying profitability with 28 teams from USA and Canada.

Which is the most popular sport in America?-Top 5 revealed
Chris Wondolowski is the highest goal scorer in the history of the MLS. Photo: Lyndsay Radnedge
Source: Getty Images

In terms of popularity and viewership, the sport has come a long way, and currently, 7% of Americans say they enjoy watching soccer. Furthermore, the viewership rate is projected to grow by 3% annually to the peak in 2026 when America hosts the FIFA World Cup.

Below are some interesting facts about soccer in America.

Major Soccer League Profile Summary

  • Founded: 1996
  • Governing Confederation: CONCACAF
  • Number of Participating Teams: 28
  • Current MLS trophy holder: New York City FC
  • Team with the most MLS trophies: LA Galaxy-5 titles
  • Most Capped Player: Nick Rimando
  • Top goalscorer: Chris Wondolowski- 171 goals
  • Website: mlssoccer.com
  • Instagram: @mls
  • Twitter: @mls

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3. Baseball

Which is the most popular sport in America?-Top 5 revealed
It doesn't get bigger than Babe Ruth in baseball, for he was considered the greatest of all time. Photo: MPI
Source: Getty Images

There was a time baseball reigned supreme and was the number one sport of interest in America. However, the sport went through commercialization, disputes, and disinvestment, until it lost its soul and public interest.

Though its origins are heavily disputed, sports historians indicate that the sport was invented in the 1700s by an army general.

Though its popularity has been declining, baseball is still one of the dominating sports in America, with some cities such as New York and Cincinnati being referred to as Baseball cities. The majority of people in these cities prefer baseball over other sports.

The foremost and most popular baseball league in America is Major League Baseball (MLB). It is the oldest professional sports league globally.

Major League Baseball Profile summary

  • Founded: 2000
  • Number of teams: 30
  • Commissioner: Rob Manfred
  • Participating countries: USA (29 teams) and Canada (1 team)
  • Team with the most titles: New York Yankees
  • Most recent champion: Atlanta Braves
  • Greatest player of all time: Babe Ruth
  • Website: mlb.com
  • Instagram: @mlb
  • Twitter: @mlb

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2. Basketball

Probably one of America’s biggest sports exports, if not the biggest, basketball has come a long way from its early days in Massachusetts.

Which is the most popular sport in America?-Top 5 revealed
Michael Jordan is usually credited as one of the instrumental figures that helped popularize basketball in America. Photo: Steve Schaefer
Source: Getty Images

Basketball was an invention by a young physical education teacher named James Naismith in Massachusetts, in 1891.

Before the founding of the NBA, the major basketball league in America, basketball was famous in college, and the only time to play major basketball was through college. To date, college basketball still plays an essential role in American sports culture.

In the 1980s, cable TV’s introduction saw an increase in popularity and interest in basketball through its major league, the NBA. Below is its profile

National Basketball Association Profile Summary

  • Founded: 1946
  • Number of teams: 30
  • Commissioner: Adam Silver
  • Participating countries: USA (29 teams) and Canada (1 team)
  • Teams with the most titles: Boston Celtics and LA Lakers (17 titles each)
  • Current Champions: Milwaukee Bucks
  • Greatest players of all time: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird
  • Website: nba.com
  • Instagram: @nba
  • Twitter: @nba

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1. American Football

American football, or simply football as it is referred to in America, is by far the most popular sport in America, and its Major League, the NFL, is the league that runs TV.

The sport is an evolution and merging of two sports, soccer and rugby, that already existed. It started gaining traction in America in the 1860s and became popular in the 1920s when the NFL was formed.

Which is the most popular sport in America?-Top 5 revealed
Tom Brady is the NFL's greatest of all time. Photo: Kevin C. Cox
Source: Getty Images

During the 2022 Super Bowl, the equivalent of the FIFA world cup finals in the NFL, had 112 million Americans tuned in to watch the show, making it the most-watched sports show in America.

The NFL is also by far the most profitable Professional Sports league globally. Below is its profile.

National Football League Profile Summary

  • Founded: 1920
  • Number of teams: 32
  • Commissioner: Roger Goodell
  • Team with most titles: Green Bay Packers
  • Current Champions: Los Angeles Rams
  • Greatest Player of all time: Tom Brady
  • Website: nfl.com
  • Instagram: @nfl
  • Twitter: @nfl

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Frequently asked questions:

What is the most popular sport in America in 2022?

With 112 million Americans tuning in to watch the NFL 2022 Super Bowl, American football is America’s most popular sport.

What is the most popular sport in America by participation?

American football has the greatest number of participants.

What is the most popular sport in America by attendance?

American football is still the dominating sport in America for many areas. In terms of attendance, as of 2019, pre-pandemic, the NFL had the highest average attendance; an average of 66,479 people were attending each game.

Why is football the most popular sport in America?

With millions tuning in each year to watch the Super Bowl, the NFL is not only the most profitable league in the world but also one of the most popular ones. So, what makes football the pride and joy of Americans? Here are some of the reasons

  • Tailgating- This is a pre-game ritual where fans hold parties at the parking lots around the open tailgate of their vehicles. They talk about the game and socialize with drinks and food on their hands, and fans look forward to it before attending the games.
Which is the most popular sport in America?-Top 5 revealed
Fans attend pre-game tailgate festivities prior to a playoff. Photo: Timothy T Ludwig
Source: Getty Images
  • Parity in the League- Every team, whether big or small, participating in the NFL has the chance to win the league, which resonates well with many Americans. The same parity is seen in teams’ equal distribution of revenue earned from endorsements and TV rights.
  • Even distribution of games- Games are played one match per week, giving fans enough time to anticipate the upcoming games.
  • Super Bowl-This is a once-in-a-year event, and fans usually highly anticipate it.

What is the most popular youth sport in America?

Below are the three most popular sports among the youth in America

  • Football
  • Track and field
  • Basketball

READ ALSO: Who are the hottest female footballers in the world right now?

Sportbrief.com recently did an article ranking the hottest female footballers we have globally.

Football (soccer) is by far the most popular sport on the globe, and just like their male counterparts, women’s football too, is thriving. Without a doubt, women’s football has come a long way in the last 20 years. Female footballers are nowadays getting the recognition they deserve with some even headlining for renowned sports magazines. So, which female footballers, besides being excellent, are also very good looking? Read more on that here.

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Source: Sports Brief News