In the US sports is not only a favourite pastime for most people in the country but is also considered part of the culture and is deeply ingrained in the society. It does not matter whether it is professional sports or just local college sports everyone shows a huge amount of passion. According to recent polls at least 63% of the total population are fans of one or more sports. While some sports are more popular than others millions of Americans all over the country always show up to support their favourite teams in their different venues. Over the years America has continued to produce a wide range of elite sportsmen ranging from Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan to Floyd Mayweather and Lebron James. Here is a list of 10 most popular sports in the country currently.
1. American Football
American football which is simply referred to as football in the country is top of the list as the most liked sport in the country. Regardless of whether it is just local high school, college football or professional football the sport attracts millions of spectators from all over the country. It has been said that you can spark up a conversation with anyone in the country just by mentioning some of the household names in the sport like John Madden, Tom Brady, Al Michaels, John Elway and many others who are considered the face of football. The NFL currently has the highest match attendances and TV viewership subscriptions in the US. The Super Bowl which is unmissable is the cherry on top.
The sport comes a close second after football in the US, however the sport will always be considered as America’s dearest pastime having been invented in the country with a history dating over 150 years. In fact if you base your argument from a cultural and historical perspective then baseball is the most loved sport in the country. The sport has produced players like Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson who is known for breaking the racial barrier to current players like Mike Trout and Aaron Judge. The New York Yankees simply known as ‘Yanks’ are the most successful and supported team of all time in the country .
Basketball comes third in the list of popular sports in the US with an attendance of averagely 14,000 spectators being recorded in each match. It is also the most played game in the country with about 27 million Americans playing the sport. It is well supported in the local high school and college levels mostly due to the fact that local talent is scouted and signed by the NBA teams. Michael Jordan one of the all-time NBA greats is famed for being a game changer and turning the NBA to one of the most successful pro leagues in the country. NBA athletes are the best paid athletes anywhere in the world. Other well-known basketball players both retired and current are the likes of Magic Johnson, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry.
4. Ice Hockey
This is the 4th most popular sport in the US. It is impossible to talk about ice hockey in the COUNTRY without mentioning the New York Rangers whose home ground is the Madison Square Garden. They are an epitome of success in the country for winning the country’s first ever Stanley Cup. This is mostly because Canadian teams dominated the sport since the game originated there. Even some of the most famous hockey players of all time like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are Canadians. It is a famous sport especially North of the country in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Michigan with Minnesota uplifted as the hockey capital of the country. The National Hockey League is the professional hockey league in the country and it attracts a lot of supporters and viewership.
5. Soccer/ Football
Though it is the most popular sport with over 4 billion supporters worldwide, soccer wasn’t very big in the United States until the stellar run of the national team in the FIFA world cup of 2014. The sport gained a lot of supporters after that. The Major league Soccer which is the highest level soccer league in the country continues to grow each year with teams signing renowned soccer players like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Kaka and most recently Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among others. This continues to steadily improve MLS viewership and ratings in the country.
The support for tennis in the US increased rapidly during the 70’s and 80’s when the likes of Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors burst onto the scene and shone the spotlight on the sport. Recent players like the Serena sisters, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick have helped in maintaining the popularity of the sport by making notable career records. All the five categories of tennis are played in the country. The US open is the most prestigious tournament in tennis where teams from players from different nations compete and it is hugely anticipated by tennis supporters worldwide each year.
It is an undeniable fact that during his peak Tiger Woods took golf to a whole new level although it was an already popular sport in the country. Other notable American Tennis players are Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen. The sport is played by over 25 million US citizens with most of the top ten players globally being Americans and has a fan base that is steadily rising each year. Major golf events and championships like the US Open, US Women Open and US Senior Open attract a huge following and viewership and are televised in the country. The sport is considered a favourite pastime by many in the society.
Considering the fact that the greatest boxer to ever grace this planet Muhammad Ali synonymous with the phrase “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was an American only goes to show the high esteem that the sport is held in within the country. His greatest rival Joe Frazier was also an American which added to the entertainment value of the sport in the country. Indeed most of the worlds’ best boxers have come from the US in the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson, Mike Tyson, Marvin Hagler and most recently Floyd Mayweather who is currently unbeaten and among the most successful and wealthiest boxers of all time which is attributed to the pay per view era. Boxing remains a respected sport in the society.
9. Auto Racing
After the National Football League motor sports are the most watched type of sport in the US with a viewership of over 20 million viewers. This shows just how much Americans love motorcycle and auto car racing. NASCAR sets the pace for motor racing in the country with races like the Daytona 500 also known as ‘The Great American Race’ and the Indy 500 being the most famous races in the series and they have attracted a lot of viewership over the years. The NASCAR also organizes famous circuits like Xfinity Series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Pinty’s series and the Camping Track World Track Series among others.
10. Mixed Martial Arts. (MMA)
Last in the list is the MMA which only burst onto the spotlight in the few recent years. $4 billion is the price at which the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champion) a martial arts promotional company was sold for in 2016 making it the largest sale in all sports history. The UFC has been growing steadily in its following and viewership over the years and has continue to attract top talent from all over the world like the world famous ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Demetrious Johnson and Max Halloway among other fighters. The UFC is among the fastest growing sport in the country.