Which is the most watched Olympic sport in the world currently?

Which is the most watched Olympic sport in the world currently?

Kenneth Mwenda
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:23 PM

There are several highly watched Olympic sports as per different regions. Fans devote many hours and days watching particular competitions and supporting their favourite teams. The Olympics is the cornerstone of sport and features the best athletes from around the globe competing for Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals.

Which is the most watched Olympic sport in the world currently?
Olympic rings in The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, on 14th June 2022, in London, England. Photo: Richard Baker
Source: Getty Images

It is important to note that the Games are intensely competitive and challenging to play because they are an integral part of peoples' lives and significant ones. It is critical to comprehend how much effort is put into these competitions and sports. Participants in this international sporting event come from all over the world, and billions of spectators cheer them on as they win and receive the victory medal.

Top 10 most-watched Olympic sports in 2023

The tournament's origins can be traced to Ancient Greece, but it was not until the 1800s that they were modernized. They are one of the most watched sporting events in the world right now. The topic we are seeking to answer in this essay is, "what is the most-watched Olympic sport in the world?".

10. Handball

Most watched olympic sport
Vincent GUERIC of Nimes vs Gabriel LOESCH of Aix during the Liqui Moly Starligue match between Nimes and Pays Aix on November 25, 2022, in Nimes, France. Photo: Alexandre Dimou
Source: Getty Images

Around 19 million people of all ages play the captivating, quick-paced game of handball, which is played in over 180 countries. Handball was first featured as an outdoor sport in the Summer Olympic programme of 1936, but since 1972 it has been featured as an indoor sport. The game is referred to as "handball" all over the world, and it is also known as "team handball" or "Olympic handball" in the United States.

9. Weightlifting

Most watched olympic sport 2023
Chen Lijun of China competes in the Men's 67kg Weightlifting during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum on July 25, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Wei Zheng
Source: Getty Images

Weightlifting comes in at number nine on the list of the most popular Olympic sports. Weightlifting is a sport in which the competitor attempts a single lift of the highest possible weight with a barbell loaded with weight plates.

It is one of the most popular Olympic events. The combined total of the highest two successful lifts determines the overall result within a bodyweight category, and each weightlifter is given three attempts in each. For male and female competitors, there are different bodyweight categories.

8. Martial arts

Most watched olympic sport in winter
Teddy Riner (white) vs Hisayoshi Harasawa of Japan during the judo events of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Nippon Budokan on July 30, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Jean Catuffe
Source: Getty Images

Since ancient times, martial arts and sports involving hand-to-hand combat have been held as Olympic events. Wrestling, boxing, Pankration, and other hand-to-hand combat sports were practised when the tournament first began in 776 BC.

Men and women both took part in the popular sporting event known as physical combat. In contrast to today's, these matches did not adhere to a rigid set of rules and were incredibly brutal and violent. Currently, the Olympic Games feature six martial arts: boxing, fencing, judo, karate, taekwondo, and wrestling.

7. Tennis

What is the most watched olympic sport in the world?
A general view of the Men's Singles Gold Medal match of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on August 01, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Julian Finney
Source: Getty Images

Tennis has grown significantly over the past few years as all the big stars have started participating in competitions. Tennis superstars like Naomi Osaka and some of the sport's biggest names, like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, draw sizable crowds wherever they go, and this is true even during the Olympics.

The first time tennis was put up for debate as a summer Olympic sport was in Athens in 1896. Only the men's singles and men's doubles competitions were held during the first Olympic Games. Women were first permitted to compete in singles and mixed doubles tennis events at the tournament in 1900.

6. Volleyball

Which is the most watched Olympic sport in the world currently?
Izzet Unver (17) of Turkiye in action against Arthur Kody Bitjaa Yvan (15) of Cameroon during the men's volleyball semi-final match in Konya, Turkiye, on August 14, 2022. Photo: Arife Karakum
Source: Getty Images

Since 1964, volleyball has consistently been a part of the Summer Olympic schedule for both men and women. Similar to how it is one of the most exciting games in the competition.

A sport you typically do not watch is played by incredible athletes you do not know. But eventually, you get the hang of volleyball's rules and regulations, and you start actively supporting a particular nation during the competition. By the end, you might even check your TV guide for upcoming volleyball matches.

5. Basketball

Most watched olympic sport in the US
Kevin Durant, #7 of the USA, rebounds watched by Draymond Green, #14, during the France V USA basketball final at the Saitama Super Arena during Olympic Games on August 7, 2021. Photo: Tim Clayton
Source: Getty Images

Basketball is the most watched Olympic sport in the US, and it debuted as a demonstration event in the programme at the 1904 Games in St. Louis. At the 1936 tournament, basketball was first played as a medal event. In contrast, women's basketball made its debut at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

Since basketball was added to the Olympic programme, the USA has dominated the basketball scene by winning a large majority of the gold medals. Since the game was invented there in 1891, it is not surprising that the nation has produced some of the best moments in the tournament's basketball history, including the Dream Team.

4. Track and Field

Most watched olympic sport on TV
Netherlands' Abdi Nageeye (R), Belgium's Bashir Abdi (L) and Kenya's Lawrence Cherono (C) during the men's marathon final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on August 8, 2021. Photo: Charly Triballeau
Source: Getty Images

Track is frequently listed as one of the best Olympic sports. Since the beginning of the tournament, the sport has been included in some capacity. Even today, despite the rarity of upsets, races are still fast-paced, heart-pounding, and exciting. Although, for those who do not have the time or money to attend the Olympics in person, track is frequently considered among the most watched Olympic sports on TV, precisely because a significant shift in the race tends to be rare.

3. Swimming

Most watched olympic sports, ranked
Shohei Iwamoto of Team Japan competes in the Swimming Men's 200m Freestyle heat during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Stadium on August 7, 2021, in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan. Photo: The Asahi Shimbun
Source: Getty Images

The majority of people in the world either enjoy swimming or have done so at some point in their lives, making swimming one of the most well-liked Olympic sports. Some Olympic swimming events go longer than we would like, which is why they are listed below track.

Someone who is only interested in the relay's outcome could go to the restroom, make a sandwich, and still watch the last few laps. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic-level athlete in history, is a name that even non-sports fans have heard at some point.

2. Football/Soccer

Most popular olympic sport
Richarlison of Brazil shoots during the Men's Match between Brazil and Spain during the 2020 Olympic Games at International Stadium Yokohama on August 7, 2021, in Japan. Photo: The Asahi Shimbun
Source: Getty Images

Football is currently the most popular sport, with more than 3 billion fans worldwide. It stands to reason that the Olympic version of the most widely-watched sport in the world would draw a large audience.

However, the men's soccer tournament may not be as exciting as the women's competition, according to many sports fans. This is due to the fact that only under-23-year-old players are allowed on men's rosters, leaving three spots open for players older than 23. Because of this, many of the world's top footballers do not play.

1. Gymnastics

Most watched olympic sport
Sumire Kita during Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics, Ariake Gymnastics arena, Tokyo, Japan on August 6, 2021. Photo: Ulrik Pedersen
Source: Getty Images

Gymnastics is the most popular sport in the Summer Olympics. The athletes' extraordinary skill and feats, which are performed with what appears to be the greatest ease, are probably the reason why the sport is so popular. Gymnastics is so compelling to watch, which is why the Summer Olympics ratings soar during the gymnastics competitions. It combines the high-performing athleticism with the drama and pageantry inherent to the sport.

The tournament's gymnastics includes events like men's and women's floor exercises, men's horizontal bar, men's and women's individual all-around, and other similar competitions. Men's parallel bars are also included. Vault is open to both sexes, and some of the best gymnasts in the world came from this game.

The most watched Olympic sports are mostly played in the summer because the events occur at the perfect time of the calendar year. However, the winter Olympics also feature some of the best sports, including figure skating, snowboarding, and ski jumping.

READ ALSO: Who are the 10 best women track stars in the globe currently?

Sportsbrief also published an article about the 10 best women track stars in the world. Athletics has grown in leaps and bounds, and more female talent has arisen globally.

Several women track stars are setting and breaking records as they outwit and outperform each other. Who are these individuals? Click on the above link to find out!

Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.