The 5 Most Popular Sports in the World

Soccer, better known as football in the United States and Canada, is the most popular sport in the world, with an estimated following of 4 billion fans. It is believed to have originated in England in the 19th century, although similar games have been played for two thousand years, starting in China. One of the reasons for soccer's popularity is that it does not require expensive equipment; all you need is a ball and your foot. Therefore, anyone, regardless of their financial status, can enjoy the sport.

It is played all over the world, but is particularly popular in Europe, Central and South America, and Africa. Cricket has a fan base of 2.5 billion. The game is most popular in the United Kingdom and some former British colonies, notably India, Pakistan and Australia. Like baseball, it involves two teams, a bat, a large field and scoring runs.

However, there are significant differences between the two sports; cricket has a long rectangular field in the center of the field where the ball is thrown at a batsman, while baseball has a mound in the center of the diamond with a batter on home plate. Table tennis, also known as ping pong, originated in England in the early 20th century and now has an estimated following of 875 million people. It is especially popular in Asia, but it is also followed in Europe, Africa and the Americas. Invented by James Naismith, a Canadian who taught at a school in the United States in the late 19th century, basketball has an estimated 825 million fans.

In basketball, two teams try to bounce a ball off a court and throw it into a raised hoop net to score points. Baseball is America's national pastime and has an estimated 500 million fans. The sport involves two teams trying to hit a ball with a bat between two white lines, with batters running around a series of bases to score runs (points). Nowadays, baseball is popular not only in the United States but also in East Asia and Latin America.

Rugby has an estimated following of 475 million people. The sport originated in England and is now more popular in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand. In rugby, two teams try to kick, carry or pass a ball over a goal line to score points. Rugby is a contact sport that involves a lot of tackles but very little protection for players compared to American football. Golf has an estimated 450 million fans.

The sport originated in Scotland in the 15th century; interestingly though, its name comes from the Dutch word “kolf” or “kolve” which translates as club. Golf is particularly popular in Western Europe, Eastern Asia and North America. Sports are almost as old as human civilization itself; historical evidence suggests that humans have been participating in sports for at least 3,000 years. New technology has revolutionized many sports today and sports science has been developed to improve athletes' performance as well as other aspects of sport. One of the most recent trends in sports is making them safer for athletes; this means that future athletes may face less risk to their health than their current or past counterparts. At the top of the list of most popular sports is football with 3.3-3.5 billion fans worldwide; followed by cricket with 2.5 billion fans; table tennis with 875 million fans; basketball with 825 million fans; baseball with 500 million fans; rugby with 475 million fans; golf with 450 million fans.