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What Is The United States' Most Popular Sport?

This week we get a forum member's opinion on what the most popular sport in America is. Read on and respond to share your view.

TOPIC: What Is The United States' Most Popular Sport?

The Question:

Soccer is probably the most popular sport around the world. But in a country where there are numerous great sports, such as football, baseball, boxing, basketball, hockey, etc., soccer doesn't seem to have the majority of athletic attention.

What is the United States' most popular sport?

How did you come to this conclusion?

Bonus Question: The dynamics of sports have been changing slowly with new sports picking up speed in popularity. Which sport do you think has the best shot at becoming the next great American sport?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

      1st place - 75 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ for more info.

1st Place - Ho_124

Soccer is probably the most popular sport around the world. But in a country where there are numerous great sports, such as football, baseball, boxing, basketball, hockey, etc., soccer doesn't seem to have the majority of athletic attention.

What Is The US' Most Popular Sport?

Sports are the cornerstone of American culture. They produce some of the finest athletes in the world for a handful of popular sports. Just look at sports figures like Koby Bryant, Lindsey Davenport, Bode Miller, the list is endless. At the 2006 Torino games the Americans dominated the medal standings with the second most medals, a total of 25 and nine of those were gold.

With the bulk of sports scholarships in North America given out by universities in the United States, it becomes apparent that America is one of the largest sports based cultures.

The most popular sport in the United States has got to be football. As a matter of fact it's almost like the American's national sport. Although it isn't popular worldwide, the sport enjoys a phenomenal fan base. The sport of football started when Rugby was introduced into the U.S which gradually became football.

The sport spread like wildfire and eventually the NFL was created (NFL stands for National Football League). More and more teams were added and all across the states much smaller leagues were created to coach kid's football. This also happened in high schools all across America which started their own football teams and taught teens how to play the game. Eventually football developed into what it is today, the most popular sport in America.

How Did You Come To This Conclusion?

1. High School's Role In Football:

    Almost every high school and college in America has a football team. Now I don't mean to bash other sports but football is probably the star sport in most of these high schools; a lot of importance is placed on it.

    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Football Is The Star Sport.

    It is even regular for some private schools to pick the star football players even if their grades are crap. It's also a normal thing for students to switch schools just for football. However, this doesn't happen nearly as much for sports like baseball and volleyball. Even in Canada, more emphasis is placed on football than other sports such as hockey and basketball.

    In most high schools the talk is about who made the football team and which high school teams are in the semis or the finals. No one really talks about the ping pong team (table tennis) or the basketball team as much.

    Arnold Classic Table Tennis Competitions

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    I mean seriously, football is so important that semi's and finals for high schools are sometimes held in stadiums where the college and pro teams play. That would rarely happen for something like volleyball or basketball where the finals are usually held in a school gym.

    Some schools that are more wealthy and larger also have their own stadiums that can hold up to 5,000 people, with booths for the commentators. There are tons of schools with mini stadiums and hardly any of them have hockey rinks or anything like that.

2. Football Games Are Packed:

    Americans love football and that's final. Because Americans love football so much the stands are almost always packed with spectators even if it's a relatively unimportant game. The fans are always crazy, yelling, screaming and laughing and just happy to be with friends watching a great game.

    Now take a look at other sports such as baseball. Occasionally when I flip through the television channels I might come across a baseball game, and I'm shocked to see that there's hardly anyone in the stands. I mean seriously, more than half the stands are empty.

Ballpark Attendance
Ballpark 1983-1989 1990-1999 2000-2004
Dodger Stadium 21,655,262 29,732,357 15,606,381
Shea Stadium 14,725,354 19,462,713 12,704,897
Wrigley Field 14,224,114 22,948,463 12,167,345
Yankee Stadium 15,794,536 22,495,798 27,813,190

Football Attendance
Team 1983-1989 1990-1999 2000-2004
Dallas Cowboys 3,090,219 5,060,734 2,466,726
Green Bay Packers 2,898,307 4,638,523 2,593,192
Los Angeles Raiders 3,075,272 4,090,740 2,225,637
San Francisco 49ers 3,200,932 5,139,978 2,682,211

    This is also true for other sports such as hockey in the states, which are struggling with ticket sales. That's hardly ever the case with football, even if there's just a regular season game on people are always talking about it and asking friends if they are going or not. Then after the game there's always talk about which plays were great and which players did good and who sucked.

3. Pro Football Players Are Some Of The Highest Paid Athletes:

    Football players are some of the highest-paid athletes simply because football is such a popular sport and the teams need a lot of money to keep good players around.

    I would be surprised if people were willing to pay millions to get a lawn bowling or a ping pong team (table tennis) in America. Some athletes don't make as much money as the football athletes even if they are at the top of their game. Do you think the top bobsled team makes as much money as the worst NFL player?

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    I would say that the worst NFL player makes more money than the top American bobsled team put together. The fact that America spends so much money on athletes in football and not other athletes in other sports shows that it is one of the top or what most people consider the top sport in America. So until I see a millionaire lawn bowler I won't change my opinion.

4. Football Players Are Famous:

    Every country has a signature sport. For Russia it's probably figure skating and when their top figure skating athletes bring back the gold or even a medal they are treated like heroes, with the spotlight constantly on them. The same goes for American football. This sport is like the U.S signature sport.

    All the top football athletes are known and talked about and are pasted everywhere in the newspapers, advertisements and on television. Like I said above, the top lawn bowler in America would probably get zero attention compared to the top football players whose faces are everywhere.

5. Networks Always Replay The Unreal Football Plays:

    Amazing football plays are always shown again, for example an amazing pass, tackle or touchdown. Although this is shown for other sports too, football plays are usually a highlight for a lot of people. For example all the football fans talk about the unreal plays made by a certain player in a game, or an amazing takedown.

    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Everyone Loves Football Highlights.

    But if I talked about an amazing golf shot made by some random guy or a cool dunk made by a basketball player not many people would be able to carry on a conversation about those things. I mean just look at when football players screw up, almost everyone knows about it and verbally bash the player the next day.

    Seriously, in some places they send death threats to football players who screw up and dump horse crap on their lawns, it's just that popular and given that much attention.

6. The Super Bowl & The Super Bowl Party:

    The Super Bowl is the ultimate game that everyone must watch, and is given an amazing amount of attention. It's advertised everywhere and the buzz about the Super Bowl game is the topic of talk for millions of people. People are always like, "Hey who do you think is gonna win?" If you are not able to respond or carry on a conversation about it with someone who knows that stuff you may be treated like a nobody for that week.

    The networks that show the Super Bowls charge in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for each second a commercial runs during the Super Bowl because they know so many fans are watching. I've heard one media teacher tell us that some networks might charge close to a million per second that a commercial runs.

What Do Enjoy Most About The Superbowl?

The Game.
The Halftime Show.
The Parties.
The Commercials.

    A million dollars per second! No wonder commercials are so short on Super Bowl day! Any game that creates that much attention has to be the most popular sport. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I have never seen any other sport that has had a single game create as much attention as the Super Bowl in America. I mean even the Stanley Cup for hockey sometimes slips by unnoticed.

    Halftime Show:

      The halftime show in the Super Bowl is crazy. They spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions, on the halftime show just because they love the game so much. They bring in music stars to perform with crazy sets and music. I mean even Janet Jackson showed her boob on the Super Bowl because she knew that everyone would be watching.

      It's almost like the opening ceremonies for the Olympics but toned down a little bit. Now answer this question, how many times are millions of dollars spent on the halftime show in other sports? Or how many times are famous stars brought in to perform in games of other sports?


      Also there are always Super Bowl parties everywhere. It's a time where people just get together and watch the game and drink a lot. People have a celebration over a sport, even if their state isn't involved in the game! Now I don't know if any other sports have that.

      Seriously, if someone said,

      "Hey, are you going to that Stanley Cup party?"

      You would probably be like what are you talking about? People even put their jobs on the line by not going to work the next day because they are so hung over from the Super Bowl party. Any sport that has the power to do that is probably the most popular sport in that country.

7. College Football & The Attention It's Given:

    College football is also huge in America, even more so than some sports like hockey and baseball. For Christ sake some college football games are way more packed than baseball games and hockey games. Even some people at my school know the college football players quite well and talk about certain college games and the good and bad plays.

    On television networks college football is aired more than other sports like golf and hockey, which just goes to show how popular football is.

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8. The Television Shows & Movies Made About Football:

    Sure there have been movies made about hockey like Miracle which was total crap by the way, and there have been some movies made about basketball. However, there have been tons of movies made about football. These aren't just crappy movies, a lot of them are very good quality too.

    The most popular one is probably Remember the Titans which is a must see movie. The reason why so many movies are made about football is simply because American's love of the sport. I mean just look at the long list of football movies like Remember the Titans, The Water Boy, Friday Night Lights, Ace Ventura, The Replacements, Varsity Blues, Rudy, The Longest Yard, and Heaven Can Wait. The list goes on and on and I don't think any other sports have as many movies dedicated to it.

    There are even television shows that include football in many of their episodes, just because the sport has become so popular that it would attract more viewers. Smallville is one example of a television show that is closely tied with football. Even football alone has one of the highest television ratings, more than any other sport in the U.S.

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    Also there are so many advertisements about football on the television. Even cable companies advertise new cable packages that will allow someone to watch more football simply because everyone in the States loves the sport.

9. It's Given A Tough Guy Image:

    Football is probably the sport that has the most tough guy images surrounding it and a lot of Americans like that tough image the sport is given since America is known as a strong and tough country. No other sport represents this image better than football with players who look like monsters and linebackers who just crash into each other with crazy amounts of force, and defensive backs who make crazy tackles.

    This might sound cheesy but what if America officially named its official sport a wimpy one like curling? I can bet all my money that some Americans would be downright outraged because curling has more of a wimpy image and American's prefer the tough image of football.

    Think about it, who doesn't want their country to have their top athletes look ripped and muscular and look really tough? Don't tell me you would rather have your top athletes that are famous all over the country to be scrawny endurance runners, no offense to them by the way.

10. America Is One Of The Very Few Countries That Play It, & Americans Invented It:

    America is probably the only country that plays football other than Canada [(* The NFL also has a league in Europe)]. I actually cannot think of any other country that plays football. For this reason, it makes the game of football unique. Sure they could have leaned toward hockey as their favorite sport, but already so many countries play the sport and it wasn't even invented by them.

    All American.

    America is one of the most patriotic countries and what better way to show that by making the most played sport in America, one that they invented in their country, one of the very few that play it. It's like having a nice MP3 player that no one else has.

Bonus Question:
The dynamics of sports has been changing slowly with new sports picking up speed in popularity. Which sport do you think has the best shot at becoming the next great American sport?

Right now it would be very hard for any sport to overthrow the popularity of football. One sport I think that may have a good chance of gaining popularity is UFC fighting and martial arts fighting. It's a long shot but it is right now picking up popularity with the UFC having its own show on Spike Television.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Friday Night Fights At The Arnold Classic.
View More Pics Here.

As a matter of fact the program did quite well, or at least a lot better than the XFL. One thing that people love about UFC and martial arts, and why more people might enjoy it, is simply because of the fighting. North Americans love the fighting.

Some people go to hockey games just to see fighting. That's what football is all about; crashing into each other and tackling each other. Americans love that stuff, and if they love football players who viciously take down people then they have a good chance of liking UFC and martial arts fighting.

Like I mentioned above, Americans love having their athletes look tough and well built. Well what do you know, UFC and martial arts fighters are also tough looking and well built and would back up the "tough culture" that America is all about. Like I said, Americans wouldn't like it if their official sport was figure skating or lawn bowling, they like sports that are tough and UFC and martial arts fighting does just that.

*Editors Note: These are not the views, expressions or opinions of or

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