Sports journalists have been facing this conundrum of ranking sports for some time now. For ranking any sport’s popularity it is imperative that we set the criteria for ranking first. For us (Total Sportek) TV viewership isn’t the only criteria for a sports popularity rather it should be the number of other factors combined to get the best popularity ranking.
- These are the factors we consider in ranking the top 25 sports in the world. So lets begin our countdown for the biggest, most popular sports in the World.
- CRITERIA USED.
- Global base & audience
- TV Viewership numbers
- Number Professional leagues around the world
- TV rights deals
- Endorsement & Sponsorship deals
- Average athlete salary in top league
- Biggest competition & (number of countries represented)
- Social media presence
- Prominence in sports headlines on media outlets (websites, tv)
- Relevancy through the year
- Regional dominance
- Gender equality
- Accessible to general public worldwide
Highest Average Salary: NBA average yearly salary for athlete is around $4.4 million a year, thats second highest average wage of any sport league in the world. While top 40 players in NBA earn more than $13 million a year in salary while top 10 earn more than $22 million a year with Kobe Bryant earning as much as $25 million a year.
Endorsement Deals: Lebrone James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant features in the top 10 list of highest paid athletes with their massive salaries and endorsement deals with take their yearly income well over $50 million a year.
Fastest growing sport: Basketball is also the fastest growing sport on every scale from revenues, to competitions/leagues. More and more professional leagues are getting established in countries across the world, specially in easter european countries like Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Serbia, Lithuania where basketball is easily the second favorite sport.
Most prestigious sport event: Wimbledon is not only the most prestigious tennis event but also in all sport. Over 1 billion people tune in at some point during Wimbledon 2015 and 2014. While 17.3 million viewers tuned in to BBC One only in UK in 2013 Wimbledon final.
Most watched single olympic event: 100m final gold medal sprint race in 2012 Olympics was the most watched event in Olympic history with over 1 billion tv views across the world.
Second most watched & Attended competition: Rugby world cup 2015 was the most attended sports event behind FIFA World cup 2014. Over 2.47 million tickets were sold with around half a million (480,000) fans traveling from oversees (24 countries).
#7. Formula 1
Massive driver contracts: On formula 1 drivers makes around $5 million a year while the top drivers like Sebastian Vettel who has a $50 million a year contract with Ferrari, current world champion Lewis Hamilton who signed a new deal worth $40 million a year two of the highest paid athletes around.
#9. Ice Hockey
Most Popular Sports In The World (Countdown 11 to 17)
Mixed Martial Arts is getting more and more popular with the emergence of UFC. Its a big sport in Brazil, USA while spreading across Europe slowly. It highly rewarding financially and might overtake Boxing in a few years.
It is one of the motorcycle racing series. MotoGP is the premium class competition with huge TV following around the world. Mostly popular in Spain, Italy, Netherlands but growing in England, USA, Germany and Middle-east.
15 Field Hockey
Field Hockey has fallen from grace even where it was most popular India, Pakistan. It still has some varied interest but nothing like 20 years ago where it was major sport in India, Pakistan and fairly popular in Australia, Malaysia, Holland, Germany, England and South Africa.
Huge popularity in Asia specifically countries like Malaysia, China, India, Korea etc. Its more of a hobby sport in Europe and Americas.
Very popular in some major european countries like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, England and Netherlands. Tour de France is one of the most watched competition in the world. Cycling is part of school games around the world.