Blade Discussion started by Blade 5 years ago

10. American Football --- Approximately 400 million fans 
The national obsession of millions of Americans has propelled this sport onto the list - outside of North America, its impact is negligible. Many estimates indicate that, of the 400 million fans, nearly half come from the United States and Canada.

09. Basketball --- Appoximately 400 million fans
Developed in America in the late 19th century, the first century of the sport was dominated by Americans. As it has slowly spread throughout the world, other countries have developed great talent - Lithuania, Argentina and Australia have all become competitive. The growth is partially spurred by the urbanization of the globe, as basketball is one of few sports that can be played in minimal amounts of space in urban environments. 

08. Golf --- Approximately 450 million fans
Dating back to the 13th century in theory, golf wasn't solidified as a sport until the early 1400's in Scotland, where it was promptly banned by King James II. Possibly the only sport where its home of origin is still used as a playing ground in modern times, the Old Course at St. Andrews has been used for the last 500 years for golfing. 

07. Baseball --- Approximately 500 million fans
Developing in England from the game of rounders, baseball has one of the longest-standing codes of play - the major rules have not changed since 1901. The first formal league, the National League, was founded before then, in 1876, and consisted of American teams. The game is unique, with the direct competition of single players - the batter and pitcher - within a team sport. The sport has developed fans across the world, becoming the leading spectator sport in Japan and a national sport in a number of Central and South American countries, all of whom now provide talent to Major League Baseball. Cuba has developed into a world power in the sport, winning numerous Olympic golds, while the Japanese have won two out of three World baseball Classics.

06. Table Tennis --- Approximately 850 million fans
Hugely popular in China, and gaining acceptance in Europe, table tennis has been around for less than a century, but was adopted quickly in mainland Asia. Part of the attraction of the sport, much like soccer, is the ease of play and inexpensive equipment - makeshift nets can be set up on a plank of wood, with simple wooden panels, allowing games to be played nearly anywhere. International play has been dominated by the Chinese, particularly the women, as no non-Chinese woman or women's team has gotten a gold in any international competition since 1992.

05. VolleyBall --- Approximately 900 million fans
A simple sport played the world over, all that is needed is a ball and a net. The surface is negotiable, ranging from grass, to sand, to cement. This simplicity of play and flexibility of what kind of playing surface is needed has made this game widely popular. Introduced into the Olympic Games in 1964, with beach volleyball variant introduced in 1996. While traditional volleyball has been evenly matched over the years, with numerous countries winning medals and no one country dominating, beach volleyball has been dominated by the Americans and Brazilians, with the two countries accounting for 20 of the 30 possible medals.

04. Tennis --- Approximately 1 billion fans
The top-ranking sport that features solo competition, tennis dates back before the 14th century. King Louis X of France had an indoor tennis court built for himself in the early 1400's, but it wasn't until the middle of the 19th century that the modern rules came in to place. One of the reasons this sport is so popular is because it has never been truly dominated by a single player or country - of the Number One Ranked players over the last ten years across the Women's and Men's tours, there have been 14 different players representing 8 different countries.

03. Field Hockey --- Approximately 2 billion fans
Developed independently in Europe as well as Asia in the 3rd century B.C., modern rules were developed in the 19th century England, and spread to the English colonies. India and Pakistan dominated the sport in the mid-20th century, while the later part of the decade saw Australia and the Netherlands take over as the major force. While it is seen as a female-dominated sport in North America, across the globe it is male-dominated.

02. Cricket --- Approximately 2.5 billion fans
Thanks to the British Empire, this sport has spread across the globe. While references indicate that it may have been played as far back as the 16th century, it wasn’t until the early 1700s that the sport fully developed and was codified. It is still popular across the ex-British colonies, particularly India and neighboring countries, the countries of Australasia, and West Indies, Southern Africa, and the British Isles. With large teams and long games – sometimes up to 5 days in length – matches are usually played by county or national teams, with limited matches per year. England and India are the top international teams, followed by Australia and South Africa.

01. Soccer/Football --- Approximately 3.5 billion fans
The simplicity of the sport combined with the ease of play makes this the most popular sport in the world to play, as well as to watch. Versions of a game involving the kicking of a ball towards a target have been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that a proper code of rules was developed in England. The popularity of the game has created an incredibly rabid fan base, as all towns have clubs to call their own and pledge allegiance to. There is no particularly powerful clubs, as dozens are in contention for international and top-league titles every year.


--- Information courtesy of top10zen