Our Favorite Sports to Play and Watch

There is a difference between sports that people like to play and those they like to watch. We are running a poll on Topend Sports to investigate how these lists differ, and how they relate to the other lists of the most popular world sports. As with most online polls, this list is biased to the site visitors, which unfortunately are not a true even representation of the world's regions or age groups. For example, I get over 30% of traffic from the US and about 6% from India. The voters were also only given a finite list of sports to choose from, so their preferred sport to watch or play may not have been listed.

The most popular sport to watch

Here is the top 10 of the most popular sports to watch according to visitors to this site, based on this poll What is your favorite sport to watch? After over 1000 votes (last updated Dec 2015), the leader is not surprisingly football (soccer), as is generally found on other lists of the world's popular sports. Football is only slightly ahead of cricket. Both of these sports are not generally popular in the US, a result that is surprising considering just under a third of visitors to this site are from the USA. The next three on the list are the three sports that are very popular in the US. Sport that people tend to watch rather than play, based on comparing these two lists, is American football, ice hockey, rugby union and motorsports - which all share in common the requirement of specialized equipment and playing fields.

rank Sport Votes (%)
1. Football (Soccer) 250 (19%)
2. Cricket 235 (18%)
3. Basketball 110 (8%)
4. Baseball 107 (8%)
5. Football (American) 96 (7%)
6. Ice Hockey 77 (6%)
7. Rugby Union 59 (5%)
8. Motorsports 51 (4%)
9. Tennis 49 (4%)
10. AFL 26 (2%)

The most popular sport to play

Here is the top 10 of the most popular sports to play according to visitors to this website, based on the poll What is your favorite sport to play? After over 1000 votes (last updated Dec 2015), the leader is not surprisingly football (soccer), with cricket ranked second. Compared to the list above of favorite sports to watch, American football is much lower of the list, reflecting the sport is played played by males of a particular age with specialised equipment required. Sports ranked high on this list of favorite sports to play that are not as high on the list of spectator sports, include badminton, tennis, volleyball and swimming.

rank Sport Votes (%)
1. Football (Soccer) 217 (18%)
2. Cricket 164 (13%)
3. Baseball 107 (9%)
4. Basketball 106 (9%)
5. Badminton 65 (5%)
6. Tennis 63 (5%)
7. Volleyball 54 (4%)
8. Swimming 40 (3%)
9. American Football 37 (3%)
10. Ice Hockey 31 (3%)

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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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