Few things can rival football as a spectator sport and this is also matched by the number of people who participate in the sport, be it at grassroots level, 5-a-side leagues or simply playing for fun on a casual basis with friends. In the last global census undertaken by the sports governing body FIFA, it was estimated that there are 265 million people who play the sport along with more than 5 million referees, which equates to 4% of the world’s population.
Some people may be surprised that badminton is among the top ten most popular sports in the world. But badminton is a very popular indoor sport, with an estimated population of 220 million people worldwide and it is practiced regularly. It is especially popular in Asia, where many of the best players in the game ever have emerged from the continent.
This fast-paced sport is practiced by men and women in more than 100 countries on 5 continents around the world. A favorite at the Olympics, field hockey is a high-tech sport, played by 10 players off the field plus a goalie, and its rules differ from the ice hockey variety of the sport.
Originally from America, volleyball boasts an estimated global participation figure of 998 million people. The indoor and outdoor versions of the sport are played all over the world, with over 220 affiliated national federations registered with FIVB’s global governing body.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) estimates that at least 450 million people around the world practice this sport, either recreationally or through organized competitions. Legendary figures in the world of basketball, such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, have helped increase the global popularity of the sport from its American roots.
Tennis is widely recognized as the world’s most popular individual sport, with an estimated 60 million men and women playing tennis worldwide, according to Topend Sports. The dual version of this sport is very popular all over the world, which is why it is included in the top 10 sports list.
Most of those who practice this sport come from Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa and the United Kingdom, but cricket is also on the rise in other countries of the world. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has determined that 125 countries around the world practice this sport.
This indoor sport has become increasingly popular over the years, with its integration into schools, social clubs, and sports centers around the world. Topend Sports also estimates that 300 million people around the world participate in table tennis.
Historically, baseball was more popular in the United States than anywhere else in the world, but the sport is now becoming increasingly popular in other countries like Japan. Softball is the women’s version of the game, and the World Baseball Softball Federation (WBSC) estimates that 65 million people play baseball or softball in more than 140 countries.
Perhaps one of the most popular hobbies in the world, according to Golf Today, 60 million people around the world regularly participate in this sport. Defining playing golf regularly in these numbers is equivalent to participating in one round of golf per year or using a facility such as a driving range.