Super Bowl Infogasm: 5 Sports that are More Popular Around the World

The Super Bowl is on.  Richard is watching it, not because he loves football, but because there’s some type of manhood associated with watching football on Super Bowl Sunday and kicking back to beers.  I put up with it for the commercials.  Don’t get me wrong, I like sports.  I love watching basketball.  I even like watching soccer or baseball if it’s a live game.  Now, I’m sure if I were actually in the audience and experiencing the football game, it would be a big deal.  Sitting at home, kicking back on junk food, not so much.  I just don’t get it.  It got me thinking if other countries actually think American Football is a big deal.  They don’t.  Although it is played in 50 countries around the world, most countries aren’t big on the pig skin sport.

After going through various sources, here are the 5 sports in the world that are more popular than American football. I’ve also chosen to include the country that won 1st place in that sport in the last Olympics because…oh that’s right, American football isn’t in the Olympics.

1.) Football (REAL football=soccer). Soccer as we Americans call it is the most popular sport in the world.  Soccer, futbol, is everywhere.  In 2008, Argentina took gold for the Men and USA took home gold for the Women. My recent trip to Ghana definitely reinforced the value of futbol to me. Almost every student I talked to aspired to be a futbol player. Crowds of people surrounded themselves around a tiny television at the neighborhood bar to watch the games. Soccer is the sport loved by the masses. American football might be played in 50 countries, but there are 208 countries in the world that play soccer professionally.

2.) Cricket. Okay so in all honesty, I have never in my life watched a game of cricket, but I have seen Alice swing a flamingo at some hedgehogs. Does that count? Shoot, I think that’s croquet….Anyway, cricket is apparently the second most popular sport in the world. Go figure.  Although cricket isn’t played in the Olympics. It was, once. In 1900, two guys went to a festival and competed for the UK (then Great Britain) and won their tournament.  They didn’t even realize they were competing for the Olympics until after they had won. The games have never been played in the Olympics since then, but it is rumored they might likely come back in the future due to its increasing popularity. Increasing popularity? Sure, okay.

3.) Tennis. Here’s a sport I can invest in a tad bit because my dad and grandpa like to play. I was forced to watch many tennis games while I was simultaneously whining over my inability to watch Rugrats or Clarissa Explains it All.  After the hatred of the sport subsided, I picked up a racket and learned that this sport is pretty difficult and fun too. Most of the world would agree. Although some may argue it is not the most exciting sport to watch, others adore the short skirts and attractive people whose faces aren’t covered my masks.  In 2008, the Wiliams’ sisters took home the gold for women’s doubles (of course), the Swiss took home the gold the for men’s doubles, and Spain and Russia each got a gold in singles.

Man, this is a rough sport....

4.) Hockey. All the various kinds of hockey are actually more popular around the world than American football. Whether it’s ice hockey, field hockey, or air hockey…those little doughnut-shaped pucks are all the rage. Okay, so maybe air hockey isn’t as big as American football, but it might be. I’ve always liked ice hockey ever since Joshua Jackson made the Mighty Ducks movies so darn addicting.  Knuckle-puck and flying V shout out!  Field hockey on the other hand, I didn’t really know about. I honestly thought field hockey was the same thing as lacrosse. Thanks to Google, I not only learned that field hockey is the 4th most popular sport in the world, I learned the Germans and Netherlands took the gold for the men and women’s teams, respectively.  Oh, and it’s a damn dangerous sport.

Awh, there's so happy. Go USA!

5.) Volleyball. Volleyball was always one of those sports that I thought looked really easy until I played it myself. Saved by the Bell summer days definitely had me fooled. Damn you Kelly Kapowski. It’s definitely a fun sport, but I never thought about the extreme strength it takes to have a great serve or the technique involved. In 2008, the USA was close to winning Gold medals for all 4 of the volleyball tournaments (men and women’s indoor and beach). The women’s indoor team lost the gold to Brazil, but we took home the rest!

Well, there you have it. 5 sports that are significantly more popular than American football.  I could have actually extended the list to 10 if I included single person sports such as golf, but the half time show is on.  Damn Madonna.  You go, girl.

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