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 20 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.
Table of Contents
The Most Popular Sports in America Right Now
Bocce may be a relatively new sport in the United States, yet it has been around for centuries.
There are numerous other names and variations on the game of bocce, including lawn bowling and variations such as skittles and pentaque, just to name a few.
Since it gained popularity in California in 1989, the term “bocce” has become increasingly common in the United States. Bocce is a popular sport in the United States, with an estimated 1,300,000 players.
Many restaurants, lounges, and clubs have installed ping pong courts to convenience their patrons.
More and more people are getting paid to play, and some top tournaments pay up to $40,000.
At the World Corporate Games in San Francisco, teams from around the world compete in well-known sports like tennis, basketball, baseball, and soccer.
Bocce is also a Special Olympics event and will make its Olympic debut in the 1996 games.
19. Field Hockey
American football ranks as the 4th most popular sport. People in North America and Europe are more likely to play hockey than people in other regions.
The NHL is the premier men’s hockey league in the United States and Canada.
The United States of America has won its first Winter Olympic gold medal.
Thanks to the invention of artificial ice rinks, this sport is the most popular indoor sport in America.
We call the Adventure sports bike range “BMX.”
To avoid damage to the bicycles used in this sport, athletes must make certain modifications to ensure their safety throughout the performance of these stunts.
Throughout the United States, as well as in several other nations, it has become an increasingly popular pastime.
The “BMX” first gained popularity in the United States in California. It was the 1970s at the time. By this point, it had a significant impact on many people’s minds, most notably teens.
After European football, cricket is the second most popular sport in the world based on fan support. There may be as many as 2.5 billion people who follow cricket as a sport around the world.
While cricket may be an alien sport to Americans, it was once the most popular in the country.
Cricket first came to North America in the early 1800s and quickly became a huge hit. As a college sport, it became more popular than baseball.
A professional T20 cricket league in the United States is called the Major League Cricket (MLC). The American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) runs the MLC.
The most common name for this sport is “Sport Bowling.” Bowling’s most prestigious tournaments are always on Sport Bowling lanes.
Patterns used in sports bowling are more aggressive than those employed in traditional bowling centers.
Throughout the year, bowling pros from all around the world participate in tournaments. From nine to ninety-plus, bowlers of all ages can compete in official events.
The US Bowling Congress is the largest competitive bowling organization in the world. As of 2019, it boasted 1.3 million members, making it the most significant sports league in the country.
Having sanctioned leagues and competitions has made bowling a more mainstream activity, and the USBC deserves credit for this.
Lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport in the United States. The sport appears to be on a rapid rise in popularity.
Lacrosse has a unique appeal since it incorporates many other popular sports aspects. Players from a variety of athletic backgrounds can quickly adapt to this system.
They can recognize the similarities between lacrosse and other sports and apply what they’ve learned from those to the lacrosse field.
14. Rugby Football
According to a Nielsen research report, rugby is the fastest-growing sport in the United States, with over 33 million people either interested in the sport.
The study indicated that the number of people participating in the sport climbed by one million throughout the ten years ending in 2016.
As of 2013, the United States has 37 million people participating in some form of volleyball at least once yearly.
This game’s popularity in the professional sphere is also on the rise. The NCAA Volleyball Championship game had an audience of about 800,000 people.
Even though volleyball isn’t as well-known as some of the other sports on this list, California is still a volleyball powerhouse.
12. Mixed Martial Arts
The sport of Mixed Martial Arts, which has just recently made its way across the globe, is a relative newcomer. In the last decade, the UFC has produced some top competitors in the sport’s history.
In the United States, it’s a hugely popular sport as well. The game’s popularity skyrocketed as more and more children began playing it earlier.
Additionally, the United States Government is pushing martial arts as a sport.
More than $314 million was spent on martial arts-related sporting goods in the United States in 2007. In the same year, 6.9 million people participated in martial arts.
When it comes to American sports, badminton is up there with the finest. Many individuals play this game for fun. However, at a competitive level, there is no name for this game at all.
In addition, badminton is a simple game you can play at any time and location. Colleges, universities, and schools are the primary locations where this game is the most popular.
In the United States, it’s not as popular as in countries like Malaysia, China, Indonesia, and Denmark. Sport remains the most popular in the country despite this.
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.
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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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.
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.
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
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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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.
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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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
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.
|1||American football||38.8%||111.9 million||NFL||8.9 million|
|2||Basketball||15.3%||30.8 million||NBA||24.4 million|
|3||Baseball/Softball||14.8%||40.0 million||MLB||23.3 million|
|4||Soccer||8.2%||27.3 million||MLS||13.6 million|
|5||Ice hockey||3.8%||27.6 million||NHL||3.1 million|
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Q1: Which sport is the most popular in America?
A: In the United States, the most popular sport is American football. In addition to being the most popular sport in America, it is also the most watched. Other well-known sports are baseball, ice hockey, basketball, and soccer.
Q2: What are the top five sports in the United States in 2022?
A: There are numerous sports played in the US. However, the five most popular sports in the United States are football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and hockey. The most significant percentage of respondents to the most recent study identified American football as their preferred sport.
Q3: What is the most watched sport in the US?
A: It took more than a century for football to become the most popular sport in the United States. The NFL is the most popular and most watched sports league. In particular, the Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the United States.
Q4: Who is the highest-paid athlete in the United States?
A: The NBA offers the highest player salaries in the world, with each player earning 8.32 million dollars annually. Dak Prescott is the highest-paid athlete, with a net worth of $107.5 million.
There you have it—the top-20 most popular sports in America in 2022.
Which of your favorite sport do you think should have made this list?
Please share in the comments section below.