Most Popular Sports In the USA

When it comes to understanding the popularity of sports in a region, the two important aspects are taken into consideration: viewership and participation in sports. Many sports draw the attention of people of different age groups; there is a lot of participation and involvement of American citizens in various sports activities, from baseball to ice hockey, pro wrestling, golf, motorsports, etc. Sport is an important aspect of American culture. Let’s try and answer a common question that most people ask, “What is America’s favorite sport?”

5 Popular Sports in the USA

most popular sports in america

1. Football

When it comes to tracking down the popular sports in the USA, football is the number one sport on the list. You will find teenagers, high schoolers, and college students increasingly engaged in this game. College football teams are very common in America, and the craze over national and international level championships is no secret.

Another amazing fact about American football is, it is the world’s third most popular sport. Approximately, as of January 2020, 33 percent of US citizens are ardent watchers of football matches, and in 2021, this number reached 38.8%. Moreover, in the year 2012, the stadium recorded 67,604 live spectators, which is, to date, the maximum count. Until now, no other league has been able to break the record of such a massive gathering.

With the huge fandom and money, football remains at the top of the most popular sports in America. Moreover, the NFL, i.e., National Football League, organizes the largest tournament and is very famous worldwide. The major viewers are from South America, including California, Florida, and Texas, where the madness is at another level.

2. Basketball

With a 15.3% viewership, basketball has become the second most popular US sport. You all might have heard about players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, etc. The contribution of such players can never be forgotten in making basketball one of the most popular sports in America. The enthusiasm reaches another level in the stadium when players reflect on their skillful tactics, disappearing from one end to another at a fast pace and many more exciting events during the matches. From college basketball to the national and international championships, people are now interested in these matches. According to research and data, the maximum reach of the audience has crossed the rate of 100 million in each game. Hence, it is becoming a more prominent sport in America and the world. 

3. Baseball

Leagues like Major League Baseball (MBL), Minor League Baseball, and other competitions are commonly played in the US. Baseball holds the third position in the most popular US sports list. Another amazing fact about baseball is the seventh most popular game worldwide. Here is one more fun fact! Baseball is popularly known as the National pastime, and so it becomes the most popular sport in America.

Even though baseball could not reach a fanbase equal to football, it still attracts millions of viewers in each game. However, the popularity of baseball declined in the 20th century. Still, it attracts approximately 40 million spectators who prefer watching baseball games. 

4. Soccer

Soccer is recently gaining popularity and is on the list of the most popular sports in America. Wayne Rooney and David Beckham are two names who have shed their sweat and blood in making this sport adored by a major population. MLS, also known as Major League Soccer, is the famous professional league in America. Its viewership is almost 8.2% of the total population and TV viewing record of 27.2 million on television since 2005. There are fair chances that this rate may increase in the upcoming years.

5. Ice Hockey

Ice hockey falls under the top five most famous sports in the USA. North America cannot be missed from the discussion when talking about this game as it is most prevalent there. It keeps the audience in the age group of 18-45 years entertained which comes to around 2.6 million spectators. Moreover, the famous NHL, i.e., National Hockey League is everyone’s favorite. According to some studies, approximately 20% of the viewers’ population belongs to America. Like field hockey, now, with artificial ice rings, people can enjoy this sport in the indoor area.

Most Popular Sports In The USA As Per TV Viewership

Ice hockey3.8%

Is Football the Most Popular Game in America?

With the increasing popularity of other sports like basketball, motor racing, and golf, people tend to get confused about which game is more popular. But here is good news for all the football fans, American football remains at the top of the list of the most popular game in America. With the popularity of its major professional league worldwide, people never miss watching the tournaments and competitions.

Approximately 111.9 million people watch this game over television, having a viewership of 38.8 percent of the population in total. Hence, no game has so far broken the records set by football sports fans to make the game popular.

Is the Most Played Game and Most-Watched Game the Same?

Football is indeed the most played and the watched game in America. Football beats all the sports in every aspect, from player participants to the viewers’ participants. This is why it holds the first position in every sports-related list in America. After this, baseball and basketball hold the next position among the most-watched sport.


Apart from these five sports, motorsports, auto racing, tennis, badminton, and wrestling are some other games falling under the list of top 10 favorite sports in America. Players like Pete Sampras, William sisters, Mario Andretti, etc., have played a key role in making their sport on the favorite list. The sports mentioned in the above list are based on the viewership as well as the participation of the players. So, which American sport is your favorite?