Top 10 Most Popular Sports in USA - Knowinsiders.com
Top 10 Most Popular Sports in USA - Knowinsiders.com

Americans are very passionate about watching and playing sports. Over the few decades, drastic technological advancements have increased the sporting television figures. Catching your favorite live show on your smartphone or laptop has become more accessible.

Let’s rank the most popular sports across America. Well, the listing below is based on the number of audiences and viewership ratings (most watched and most followed sports - update 2021).

The list of the 10 most popular sports in the United States

1. American football

3. Basketball

3. Baseball

4. Soccer

5. Ice hockey

6. Tennis

7. Golf

8. Boxing

9. Motorsports (Car Racing)

10. WWE (wrestling)

1. American Football - NFL

Popularity Most popular American Sport
Major League NFL
Major Events Super Bowl

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world. American football is different from Association football which is known as soccer. American football was first played in the 19th century.

Undoubtedly, American football is the most popular sport in the United States.

According to Gallup, 37% of Americans have declared American Football as their favorite sport to watch. Undoubtedly, it is the most popular sport in the U.S. The NFL also has a jaw-dropping attendance of 67,591(average) of any sport in the world.

With 32 teams categorized into the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC), American Football’s popularity cannot be overemphasized. It is a sport that those not from the country may not understand. However, in America, even little children hope to play in the NFL someday.

The Super Bowl is the most anticipated game in the U.S, where friends and families gather together for a night of fun and entertainment. It is also the biggest annual sporting event in the country, with an attendance of over 100 million every year. This makes it one of the most popular sports in America and the world.

Among all major sports in the world, the NFL has the highest TV ratings, and it has become part of the American culture. The Super Bowl itself has become an unofficial holiday where both lovers and non-lovers of football celebrate the day. In 2014, 167 million people were recorded to have watched the game.

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Top 10 Most Popular Sports in The US
NFL - Most Popular Sports in America

2. Basketball - NBA All-star Weekend

First Played 1891
Major League NBA
Major Events NBA All-star Weekend

Well, it is a highly popularized sport due to its fun tactics, exciting pace, and known opportunity. Moreover, it passes the thrill check and is eye candy even to the spectators. On an average level, basketball gains 105 million views per game.

NBA and College basketball are the two sports that Americans love deeply. Most NBA stars are former American college students. With the likes of Michael Jordan, the NBA keeps growing every day. Currently, the most paid athletes in the world are NBA players. The sport has a number stars whose fame and popularity keep influencing the game’s popularity.

Kids can look up to the likes of Steph Curry, Lebron James, etc. Having said this, basketball is the third most popular sport in America with very high attendance. It is also the one that is mainly followed by fans who are outside the country.

Throughout the history of basketball, the sport has had its share of ups and downs. However, with the help of David Stern, NBA’s commissioner, and with stars like Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, and the rest, the sport rose to prominence in the 1990s, and it keeps growing every day.

The league is made up of 30 teams, with 1 in Canada and 29 in America. These teams are divided into the Western Conference and Eastern Conference. Each team has 82-regular season games, and the best ones move to the play-offs.

Michael Jordan took the NBA into another stratosphere. He made the NBA into one of the most lucrative professional leagues in America. With Kobe Bryant and now LeBron James keeping the fire alive and the arrival of international players in the scene, the NBA isn’t just one of the most popular sports in America. It’s one of the most well-loved sports all over the globe.

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3. Baseball - MLB

First Played 18th Century
Major League MLB
Major Events All-star game

Most people wonder, “Why is baseball so popular in the States?” The answer is simple; it is due to the physical power that his sport challenges.

Alongside it, it’s also due to the equal importance of strategy, patience, and a pressurized environment that provided the fulfillment of thrill.

However, it’s slowly declining. For example, back in the early 2000s, baseball drew around 80 million views, while it just starrs 26.8 million views at present.

Having said this, baseball is slowly falling from being America’s favorite pastime.

Jackie Robinson broke the racial barrier while Babe Ruth captured the imagination of fans. The New York Yankees are the most popular team in all of baseball and even during the 90’s era tainted by performance enhancing drugs, baseball remains a solid #3 on this list with current stars like Aaron Judge, Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout breaking records and dominating opponents.

4. Soccer - MLS

Football is the most popular and most played sport in the world. It has around 4 billion fans around the world.

Finally, the Americans are getting the hang of this game and enjoying its beauty. Yet, it stays as one of the most popular sports.

All around the States, Washington is the hotspot for soccer and its rising popularity. Grabs around 24.2 million views of people in the US.

USA women’s football/soccer team is one of the best female teams in the world.

But after Team USA’s great run at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, new TV ratings were set. With the Major League Soccer continuing to grow as a global competition, Soccer continues to flourish in the United States market.

David Beckham’s arrival in Los Angeles upped the bar for American soccer. From being mere casuals, fans went all-in. Although it will never surpass American Football as the most popular foot driven sport in America, soccer will remain as one of the most popular, even rivaling the so-called Big 4 North American Sports.

Although it’s getting admiration, it is still hard to get to the top, as it doesn’t match American culture.

It was established in 1996, and since then, MLS has grown to engage more fans and to include more teams.

In 2020, Nashville SC and Inter Miami CF joined the contest, and now, there are about 26 participating teams.After several years and many attempts, Soccer is finally gaining popularity in the US as evidenced by the popularity of soccer jerseys sold online. Currently, about 7 percent of Americans see Soccer as their favorite sport to watch. Record has it that when it comes to TV watching, Soccer is almost at the same level as Ice Hockey.

An average of twenty thousand fans attends the MLS matches. There are even numerous sports memorabilia stores springing up where lovers of the sports rush to get their soccer gifts and team memorabilia. After NFL and MLB, it is the third-highest attendance of any sports in the US.

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5. Ice hockey

Ice Hockey is quite steady in the United States, falling in the top 5 sports for 2021.

Ranking viewership in just a single game, ice hockey depicts an average of 2.6 million views. Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota are the popular hotspots for this game in particular.

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in The US
Ice Hockey

Apart from it, ice hockey targets an audience ranging from 18 years to 45 years. Also, as per the sources, the target percent of their audience is 20%, just in the United States.

Traditionally, Ice hockey has been considered the fourth of the most-loved sports in the US. It is not as popularly known as Baseball and American Football. Notwithstanding, the game is widely known and followed in Canada and the northern US states.

The hits, punches, and falls that accompany the game have made it extremely popular in America, with most of its best players from Canada and North America.

The league is made up of 31 teams which are divided into Western and Conference. According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, the best teams get to fight for the Stanley Cup, which is the most important championship. About 4 percent of Americans regard Ice Hockey as their favorite sport to watch.

6. Tennis

First Played Around 1860
Major League NFL
Major Events US Open Tennis

Tennis is the fifth most-watched sport in America in the past. Tennis is the sixth most popular and most watched sport in America for 2021.

Among all those sports, tennis does stand out uniquely, often called the “transitional game.” At present, tennis pulls 17.9 million people like spectators and players.

Each year, tennis has shown rapid growth of interest towards it with 292 million people. But as in the bigger picture, tennis is slightly declining among the American kids.

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in The US
Tennis -Top 10 Most Popular Sports in The US

The single-player sport, tennis is one of the most popular and most followed sports around the world. This is a racket sport that a single player plays against a single player (or a team against a team).

Tennis was first played around 1860 and became more popular in the world soon. As of now, it has some of the most popular athletes in the world.

7. Golf

Golf is one of the older sports on the list. It was first played during the 15th century. Golf is a club-and-ball sport. Currently, it is one of the most popular and highest-paying sports on the planet.

We all know what golf went through in the previous phase when it got called “a rich old men game.”

Well, today, golf is played by almost 10% of the United States’ population. So, yes, that is almost 30 million people interested right there.

Among those fans, 77% are said to be male, while the rest are female. As most claim, it’s been one of the greatest pastimes among people.

8. Boxing - UFC

Well, Americans love boxing. In fact, back in the days, it used to be their pride and drew the largest audience than any other show or sport.

Unfortunately, boxing is gradually losing its essence and audience in the United States.

However, even today, California is taken as the state with the highest audience in boxing in the States.

Boxing is the 8th most-watched and followed sport in America.

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in The US
UFC - Top 10 Most Popular Sports in The US

Boxing is a combat sport that is usually played between two players. It is different from wrestling in rules but has many similarities also.

Boxing is one of the oldest sports on the planet which is first played before Christ (BC). Today, we see it as among the most popular sports in the United States. Boxing has become one of the highest-paying sport in the world. Some of the boxers are the richest athletes in the world.

9. Motorsports (Car Racing)

Car racing is the 9th most popular sport in America.

With the development of technology in the auto industry, car racing is becoming more popular in the world day by day. As its name shows, it is a car race in which drivers try to reach a final spot in a given time or threshold.

Car racing is one of the most thrilling sports in the world. It was first played in 1867. It is present now in its advanced form.

With the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500 among the most prestigious races in the world, auto racing is one of the most popular sports in America. But while auto racing comes in many forms, stock car racing tops the field in the United States with NASCAR being the biggest brands in all of racing.

Mario Andretti and Phil Hill are the only Americans to win an F1 championship. Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt are the biggest names in NASCAR. There’s something about racing that drives Americans crazy. It’s more of the machines rather than the man. The adrenaline rush and the need for speed.

15 million fans

Indianapolis Motor Speedway stands as the base for motorsports in the United States. It is no doubt that this sport has been pulling numbers of fans now and then.

Well, just NASCAR Cup Series alone pulls approximately 8 million views. From watching it in the live audience to watching it among friends at home, motorsports pass with high marks for thrill and adventure.

10. WWE (Wrestling)

Undoubtedly and unarguably one of the most-watched sports in the USA, several stars in wrestling have seen their fame rise to the point that Hollywood has beckoned on them.

Wrestling is the 10th most popular sport in America.

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has been rocking the entertainment and sports industry ever since its launch. Widely popular worldwide, WWE is also immensely popular in the States with around 11 million fans.

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in The US
Wrestling (WWE)

Sad enough, the popularity has been suppressed lately due to the dominance of other sports.

As observed by the people, they state that WWE has a reputation content, and hence, it brings a bit of disappointment in that factor.

Wrestling was first played in the 19th century. It is similar to boxing in many ways and basics. With the passage of time, it became one of the most popular entertainments around the world.

It is also played in ring-like boxing. Usually, individuals take part in it but it is also played between teams. Wrestling events are some of the biggest events in America. Millions of people around the country watch and follow this popular sport.

WWE considered the pinnacle of professional wrestling, has been the major factor that has attracted millions to the sport.

The rise of several pro wrestling events such as All Elite Wrestling will further consolidate Wrestling as one of America’s most popular sports.

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