Beyond major interests in politics, business, technology, among others, the United States has held sports in high regard. In fact, it has become an integral part of its culture. Sports serve as a vehicle for promoting teamwork, discipline, and justice. They have also helped in integrating many cultures across regional and continental lines.
In the past, people had to visit the stadia to watch their favorite sport and cheer up their teams. As technology advanced, people screamed at the television. Now, technology has made live streaming on mobile and desktop possible. Sports continue to attract more people and the love doesn’t appear to be waning anytime soon.
Here are the 6 most popular sports in the United States.
American Football (NFL)
Though football is number nine on the most popular sport across the globe, of course, it takes the front role in the US. Even college football is often ranked alongside American football such that baseball, another favorite pastime sport in the nation, tends to come at a distant third.
The NFL has the highest average attendance (67,591) that any sport has ever had in the world. This undoubtedly contributed to its fame and success. The Super Bowl is the biggest annual sporting event in the nation. It is common for Americans to spend their afternoons watching football.
Apart from being the biggest sport in the US, football also has a large betting volume, the largest in the US. If you seek to bet on football or any other sport in the US, then, check out a comprehensive list of sportsbooks put together by Online Betting Guide.
Founded in 1903, the MLB is the United States’ oldest sport. The two levels of baseball competition are major baseball league and minor baseball league. It doesn’t seem to leave the American people’s conscience as a pastime sport. The sport is played in almost every part of the country – town, city, school, and even open field.
The popularity of baseball grew with the introduction of women on the field as an attempt to have some fun after a major crisis in the country and the men had gone to war. Jackie Robinson broke barriers and records as he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, an all-white team. His incredible talent earned him the first Rookie of the Year award.
Baseball continued to appeal to an increasing number of citizens. A sport that began on open fields eventually became watched in stadia around the country.
According to the National Sporting Goods Association, basketball – both professional and collegiate – is played by more than 26 million Americans. There is an annual NBA Draft event where college stars are drafted into the NBA team. This has also contributed to its growing popularity. The invention of the sport could be traced to James Naismith, a Canadian physical education teacher.
Michael Jordan undoubtedly helped to contribute to the sport’s popularity, and the vibe was sustained by Kobe Bryant (now late) and LeBron James. The league is witnessing an influx of international players, thus keeping the popularity fire burning. Not only does it have the highest percentage of black players compared to any other major professional sports leagues in the United States, but its audience is dominated by Blacks and Hispanics. Currently, the NBA stars constitute the highest-paid athletes in the world.
Ice Hockey (NHL)
The sport is popular, especially in the northern part of the US – these are regions with a cold winter climate. However, with the mass movement of residents from northern cities to Sun Belt locations in the 1990s, hockey (as it is favorably called) has increased in popularity. Historically, the majority of NHL players were constituted by Canadians with only a few Americans. However, since the 1990s, Americans boast of more than 30% of players in the sport.
In addition to Canada, Finland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Russian, the United States has also dominated international ice hockey competitions. One of the greatest moments in the sport was the “Miracle on Ice” event which saw the U.S. hockey team claim the gold medal after having a 4-3 win against the Soviet Union before proceeding to beat Finland. Thus, the US is among the Big Six.
The sport was not so popular in the United States until after the country’s team reached the knockout stage at the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament. Since then, soccer continues to flourish in the country. The entry of David Beckham into the sport raised the bar for the sport. It then grew from a casual sport to a popular sport with a huge number of fans though it still falls behind American football. Also, America hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup. This helped to increase the coverage of the competition.
Since the establishment of MLS in 1996, it has witnessed a great expansion in terms of teams and fans. In the previous year alone, the competition was joined by two more teams – Nashville SC and Inter Miami CF. With the new additions, the competition now has 27 participating teams. MLS matches have an average viewership of 20,000 fans, the third-highest average attendance in the United States after NFL and MLB. Also, note that you can view most of these sports by streaming them live online.
Boxing is an iconic sport that has served as both a source of entertainment and a focus around which most successful sporting movies revolve. It also witnessed the influx of many Black figures to become major figures. For instance, Muhammad Ali is undoubtedly the greatest boxer of all time and he is an African American. In fact, his rivalry with Jose Frazier in the ring helped to increase the popularity of the sport as both fighters were Americans. Other Americans that dominated the middleweight division in the 1980s are Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Thomas Hearns.
The modern-day boxing world is dominated by Floyd Mayweather who continued to break PPV records, thus adding greater entertainment value to the sport. Since the formation of the National Boxing Association in 1921, title fights began to dominate the ring.