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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 fan

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.

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Lists Extra

Football/Soccer is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most. The best of the best have made it to our 7 Sporting Wonders Lists.

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