The World's Most Played Sports
This is part of our discussion about the world's most popular sports. When discussing this question, there is a difference between most viewed sports (e.g. most fans) versus the most played sports around the world. Here is a discussion about the number of people who play sport around the world. See also the discussion about the most viewed sports. Have your say too, vote in our poll - What is your favorite sport to PLAY?
Most Participants / Most Played
When discussing popular sports around the world, the sports most played is often considered, not just what people like to watch (there is a difference). One list compared the number of participants in sport using data provided by each of the International Sports Federations. It sounds like a valid method, however the numbers provided did not seem reliable, with Volleyball and Table Tennis coming out on top of Soccer. There can be good arguments for Table Tennis being ranked high in terms of participation, as it is very popular in China and many other Asian countries. As yet there does not seem to be an accurate list of the most played sports around the world.
There may be a difference between sports played in organized competition and recreationally. Any visitor to South America will see the thousands of kids playing soccer every day in the streets, a scene that is repeated in many other places around the world. A popular sport that is not usually found on top sports lists is running or track and field. Track and Field (athletics) is one of the highest participation sports in the world, and as many people just run for fitness they do not all participate in organized sporting contests. What about fishing? Although many people participate in fishing around the world, it is dubious whether fishing can be considered a sport for all of these. Although there are some fishing competitions most people participate in fishing for food or recreation.
- Discussion about the world's most popular sports
- What is your favorite sport to PLAY?
- Online lists of most popular sports
- Other world sport lists
Commenting is closed on this page, though you can read some previous comments below which may answer some of your questions.
- Bob (2013)
- Varun (2014)
I am an indian and I can tell u that it's just money made by the govt before liberalisation why cricket is famous (more adverts between overs ) and played all day...the kids in india today just know cricket is fault of the money making govt and that that was shown repeatedly continuously on TV....only 8 -9 countries play it and that's it...it is entertainment then sport and utter useless with zero fitness of the players compared to other sports
- G (2013)
For all those advocating for Cricket--I guess you've never seen a game of Baseball. It's like Cricket, except you do more, it takes more skills and there is a discernible purpose to the game. All my Indian friends love Cricket--until they watch another sport.
- G is clearly a moron G (2013)
More skill.................. there is a very limited range of shots in baseball, in cricket you have around 10 completely different shots with much more movement and you only get one chance. It requires much more concentration and discipline. A baseball player gets hit with the ball and he reacts aggressively like a child, a cricketer gets hit in the chest by a 90 mph short ball and laughs it off. look at Joe Root for England. Baseball is a typically american sport ie, a bastardised version of a gentlemanly sport.
- MarylandBill G is clearly a moron (2014)
The difference between getting hit with the ball in cricket and baseball is that in cricket, the ball bounces first; that makes the balls final trajectory uncertain. In baseball, getting hit with the ball means the pitcher might have been trying to hit you. I won't get in the skill issue, they each have their own unique skills. That being said, hitting a baseball pitched by a first class pitcher is one of the hardest things in sports period.
- Brybry MarylandBill (2014)
Obviously not familiar with cricket. It is a legitimate tactic for fast bowlers to try to hit batsmen and to intimidate them. All part of the game.
- Akash G is clearly a moron (2014)
Frog of Well does not know how big is the river. It always dies remaining inside the well only. Same is applicable on Indians and Cricket. Because the population of India alone is 1.25b, Indian thinks that Cricket is the only sport (not more like fixing. Thanks to BCCI, Srini and Dhoni) which is popular in the world.
- True indian (2013)
Cricket is the spirit of India. Took most popular sport position in Afghanistan bangladesh and soon the world. Come on English men, aussies and Asians. Time for us to rise and throw this so called world's best game out of the world.Cricket rocks football sucks...
- True man (2015)
Surely cricket mate. It has diverse formats: one day, t20 and test to fit every audience. It is the ultimate game testing skill, tactics and presence of mind. Although, I agree football (soccer) is the most popular sport in the world due to it being played and followed across the world. But ultimately, cricket defines a true sport testing character.
- Cricket is the sport with the most to it. There is batting, bowling, fielding which each contain so many tactics and techniques. Cricket also requires the player to think more than many other sports. Definitely the sport of the future. For me, test cricket is the ultimate contest. (from James Trayon, Jan 2013)
- I know 4 men who played American football and they all have brain damage. What a boring sport. I love hockey & soccer. (from Canuck, Jan 2013)
- First of all who ever say's football is better than Cricket just because it's "played around the world" are simply stupid. (I don't want to insult any religion) If Christian's are more than Muslim's or Hindu's does it make Christianity a way way better religion? Test Cricket it not boring but it look's boring to other sport's fan's because they simply can't understand it.. People usually hate thing's they don't understand. The football fan's are always like "football is played around the world".. so what? You play football just because it's popular.. sounds like you football fan's play for popularity not because of passion.. all those who think Cricket is boring have never played it or maybe they really suck at it.. spoil sport's ... also Cricket is really tough, you won't even last till the 10-11th over.. even if Cricket become's the least famous sport.. Cricket fan's will still love it, we love Cricket because we are passionate about it unlike football fan's who follow football because it's "played around the world" and "most famous".. and also Cricket is never a lazy sport please ... don't blame the sport if you can't understand it ... those who say it's a lazy sport, you guy's won't be able to play a T20 match also.. try to even play for 6-7 over's.. you can't! (from Nothing, Dec 2012)
- Ice hockey it takes a lot of skill to play and in soccer and foot ball you need to be able to run and be able to have good endurance so I think it's a tie between ice hockey football and soccer. (from Will, Dec 2012)
- Table tennis is the best sport to play =constant activity, non contact, great use of body and mind so you cricket and soccer fanboys stop playing video games start playing some real sport. (from Rtik, Nov 2012)
- Cricket is the best sport ever which must be played in physically and in mind with patience, getting hash decisions. And cricket has ONLY been played by GENTLEMEN. (from Dinuka Manohara De Zoysa, Nov 2012)