Sports are a common hobby around the globe, whether you’re playing or watching. Although there are many sports to choose from, a few tend to gain more fans than others. Here are the five most popular sports in the world:
Association football (aka football or soccer) is the world’s most popular sport. Players primarily use their feet to move a ball across a large field and score in their opponent’s goal. The goalkeeper is the only player allowed to use their hands or arms on the ball. Although early forms of football have been played since before medieval times, Association football as we now know it, originated in Britain in the late 1800s. Today the sport has four billion fans.
Cricket is a bat and ball game that is particularly popular in England, Australia, India, Pakistan, the West Indies, and the British Isles. Two teams play the game on an oval field surrounding a rectangular “pitch” with wickets set in the ground at each end. Bowlers throw the ball down the pitch, trying to hit the wicket, while batsmen try to hit the ball away from the wicket. Hits allow batsmen to score runs. Cricket may have been played as early as 13th century in England and today has 2.5 billion fans worldwide.
3. Field Hockey
Field hockey as we know it today originated in England in the 19th century. Players use sticks with a slightly curved end to hit a small round ball and score in their opponent’s goal. The British Army helped spread the game to other countries, and international competitions were held as early as 1895. Today, field hockey is enjoyed by two billion fans worldwide.
Tennis is played on a rectangular court between two players (singles) or two pairs of players (doubles). Players use a racket to hit a ball over a short net that divides the court. In the late 1800s, the game was played on grass courts by “Victorian gentlemen and ladies.” Today, tennis is played by a variety of people on a variety of surfaces, boasting one billion fans world-wide.
Invented in the United States in 1895 as an alternative to basketball, volleyball is a game played on a court divided by a net with a team of six players on each side. Players use their hands and arms to hit the ball across the net. Today, there are 900 million volleyball fans across the world.