Top-10 Most Popular Sports In America 2021

Top-10 Most Popular Sports In America
CC0 via Pixy

What are the most popular sports in America? Read on to find out.

The United States remains a country with a remarkable sports heritage, from high school and college sports to the star-studded National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and Major League Baseball (MLB), etc.

Sports are one of the major and favorite activities that dominate the social activity of the average American.

As sports’ love continues to be predominant, we bring you the 10 most popular sports in America.

The ranking is primarily based on TV viewing records measured since 2010.

We have also considered the sport’s popularity with fans, professional sports league played in, level of participation, and vast representation in high school and college sports.

RELATED: Top-10 Most Popular Sports in the World

The Most Popular Sports in America Right Now

10. Wrestling

World Wrestling Entertainment
WWE

Undoubtedly and unarguably one of the most-watched sports in the USA, several stars in wrestling have seen their fame rise to the point that Hollywood has beckoned on them.

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), considered the pinnacle of professional wrestling, has been the major factor that has attracted millions to the sport.

The rise of several pro wrestling events such as All Elite Wrestling will further consolidate Wrestling as one of America’s most popular sports.

9. Motorsports

Motorsports - Formular One – Popular Sports in the USA
CHUTTERSNAP / Unsplash

Motorsports is the second most-watched sports in the USA.

Its prominence has risen with the arrival of several young stars in the game.

They have helped build the interest of a good number of Americans in motorsports.

Formula One, MotoGP particularly has been a form of a crusader for followers and lovers of racing.

Others include the IndyCar Series and NASCAR.

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8. Boxing

Popular Combat Sports in America – Boxing
Wikimedia Commons

Americans have shown a great deal of interest in the game of boxing since the 20th century.

At the peak of his career, Mohammed Ali thrilled fans with his dramatic wins and fantabulous records.

His demise from the boxing scene did not discourage viewers in the USA.

In recent years, Floyd Mayweather and other American boxers have continued the role Mohammed Ali played in the 20th century.

The emergence of several Americans on the boxing scene globally has further helped make boxing one of the country’s top sports.

7. Golf

Professional Golfer Tiger Woods at the Quicken Loans National
Wikimedia Commons

In the US, the game of golf is one that is a favorite pastime for many.

As a competitive sport, Tiger Woods surely brought the sport to the fore in American sports.

Golf has been intensely competitive in recent years; as the game’s intensity increases, the attention it has received has skyrocketed.

6. Tennis

Tennis is a popular sport in the USA – Serena Williams and Andy Murray
Wikimedia Commons

On the International scene, tennis is a game dominated by Americans.

The Williams sisters and many American players have helped make tennis one of the most popular sports in America.

Long before the emergence of the Venus and Serena Williams, tennis legends such as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi helped bring the sports in the American public eye.

Various tennis tournaments, majorly the US Open, have seen a tremendous increase in viewers in recent times.

5. Ice Hockey

Popular Sports in America – Ice Hockey
Wikimedia Commons

Ice Hockey in the USA, which is played at the Apex level at the National Hockey League (NHL), is home to a plethora of youthful talents, majorly from America and Canada.

The majority of Americans in the sports may be a reasonable factor responsible for the large viewers the sport has managed to garner.

In 2019, about 5.33 million viewers watched the NHL Stanley Cup games in the US, the second-highest in the past five years.

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4. Soccer

4th Most Popular Sport - MLS - Major League Soccer
Jamie Smed via Flickr

A sport which will definitely be at the top spot in Europe, lands in the fourth spot in America.

In recent years, Americans have shown considerable interest in soccer.

Their interest in soccer has gone way past the Major League Soccer (MLS) which has seen the influx of some of Europe’s finest players, such as the controversial Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney.

The 2019 women’s World Cup Final, which was won by the USA, was viewed by 14.3 million fans in the USA alone, a significant increase compared to the Men’s World Cup Final in 2018.

Also See: List Of MLS Teams By Conference, City & State

3. Baseball/Softball

America's Favorite Sports – Baseball players in action
Chris Chow / Unsplash

Known nationally as the USA’s national past time, baseball and softball are sports that can continue to receive significant attention from American sports lovers. 

The star-studded Major League Baseball features a whole lot of players known for their remarkable antics.

In July 2019, the MLB recorded an average of 198,000 viewers, a 1% jump from last season.

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2. Basketball

Basketball among the most popular sports in the USA - NBA - LeBron James
Wikimedia Commons

One of the most notable sports in America, basketball, which has been played for over a century, has produced some of the USA’s most eminent personalities.

The sports have garnered significant attention at various levels, from high school basketball to college basketball, the prestigious National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

The 2019 NBA Finals was at its lowest in the past five years, with about 15.14 million viewers in the USA.

The NBA Finals also reached an average of 8.8 TV ratings.

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1. American Football

American Football – Famous and Favourite Team Sport
Chris Chow / Unsplash

Incepted in New Jersey in 1869, American Football rose in more than a century to become the most popular sport in the USA.

The National Football League, known as the NFL, has seen an increase in viewers in recent following years of decline in viewers amidst a politically motivated controversy.

The 2019 NFL Draft set a record for the most NFL draft watched ever with an average of 6.1 million viewers, solidifying American football as the most popular sport in America.

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A Recap of America’s Most Watched & Favorite Sports

Below is a quick summary of the most-watched team sports ranked based on favorite sports poll and TV viewing.

Other highlights include the top professional leagues they have and participants in these sports.

RankSportFavorite
sport
poll
TV viewingTop
professional
league
Participants
1American football37%111.9 millionNFL8.9 million
2Basketball11%50.4 millionNBA30.3 million
3Baseball/Softball9%40.0 millionMLB29.3 million
4Soccer7%27.3 millionMLS13.6 million
5Ice hockey4%27.6 millionNHL3.1 million
Source: Gallup Poll and cencus.gov

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Conclusion

There you have it—the top-10 most popular sports in America in 2021.

Which of your favorite sport do you think should have made this list?

Please share in the comments section below.

4 Comments

  1. ashutosh kumar November 12, 2019
  2. Ben Devine February 18, 2020
  3. KULLMACK March 6, 2020
    • Tom March 18, 2020

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