We have to honestly say that the USA is a unique place on Earth, like it or not. This applies to its politics, business, society, and culture. And of course to the world of sports, which is a crucial aspect of American life. We take a closer look at the most popular sports in the USA.
Though basketball may be the most globally popular USA sport (even if it was actually created in Canada), when it comes to American fans nothing can beat football (American football, of course)!
Table of Contents
1. Basketball (NBA)
Basketball is the Most Popular Sports In The USA, and enthusiasts mostly watch it outside the country.
The game has had its share of problems throughout its history, but it was successfully reformed by NBA longtime Commissioner David Stern. Stars like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and of course Michael Jordan have gained great popularity worldwide in the 1990s.
Currently, 11% of Americans say basketball is their favorite sport, and more than 26 million play it themselves (more than any other team sport).
The NBA currently has 30 teams (29 in the Americas and 1 in Canada) divided into East and West rallies. Each team plays a regular season of 82 matches and the best get into the playoffs.
2. Baseball (MLB)
While American football is the most-watched sport in the United States, many Americans claim that baseball really describes the nature of their country.
In fact, MLB is the oldest of the largest sports leagues in the United States. It was founded in 1903, but its roots (National League) take us all the way to 1876! It has passed through America from its crucial moments – Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in 1947, and the first forest game, which was after 9/11 and marked a return to normal.
There are 30 teams competing in the league (29 in the US and 1 in Canada) divided between the National League and the American League. Each team plays 162 games in the regular season and 5 teams in each series advance to the post-season tournament that ends in the World Series.
3. Ice hockey (NHL)
Ice Hockey has traditionally been considered is the Third Most Popular Sports In The USA, although it has always been much less popular than American football or baseball.
However, hockey is widely monitored, especially in the northern United States and Canada.
The National Hockey League currently has 31 teams competing, divided between the East and West Conference. The best teams advance to the playoffs to fight for the Stanley Cup, considered by the International Hockey Federation to be one of the sport’s most important championships.
4% of Americans say hockey is their favorite sport to watch, which means it is already surpassed … football (or soccer!)
4. Soccer (MLS)
It has taken many years for football to join the Great Four American Sports. We all know these stories – too boring, too few goals, why can’t they use their hands…
However, after many attempts, it seems that football (soccer) is really getting a bet in the United States.
In fact, currently, 7% of Americans say football is their favorite sport (and in terms of television viewing records, it has almost reached the level of hockey).
Since its inception in 1996, MLS has expanded on several occasions with more teams and more fans. In 2020, two other teams participated in the competition, Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC, which now has 26 participating teams.
MLS matches have an average of 20,000 fans, the Fourth-highest average participation rate in U.S. sports federations (after the NFL and MLB only).
5. American football (NFL)
In America, the NFL brings success, fame, and money!
While 37% of Americans (source: Gallup) reported being their favorite sport, American football is without a doubt the most popular sport in the USA. The NFL also has the highest average number of participants (67,591) of all sports federations in the world!
The 32 teams in the league are divided between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The 17-week Regular Season begins in September and ends in December, with each team playing 16 matches. It only rises when the best teams reach the playoffs and end in the Super Bowl. The largest annual sporting event in the country!
Super Bowl Sunday has become a kind of informal holiday when the last game of the season takes place. Almost everyone celebrates that day even if they are not interested in football. In 2014, there were a record 167 million people after the game! Super Sunday also has its own traditions in terms of food – about 1.25 billion chicken wings and 8 million pounds of guacamole are consumed that day.
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