Each country has its own favorite sport. Hundreds of different sports and hundreds of different countries have a way of lining themselves up. The English-speaking world loves carrying a ball with their hands, as American football and rugby are extremely popular. Cold places love hockey and India loves cricket.
Some popular sports reign supreme, like soccer. Soccer is one of the most popular sports worldwide, being almost a universal sport. I mean, kicking a ball around with your feet seems pretty universal enough. Soccer is the favorite sport in 56 countries, and I won’t use up half of my column listing them for you.
In the U.S. the reigning sport is, unsurprisingly, American football. With both the NFL and college football being extremely popular in the States, about 19 million Americans watch American football every year.
Australia’s favorite sport is Australian football. Didn’t see that one coming. Australian football is like American football without the padding and is similar to rugby in a lot of ways. About 40% of Australians watch Australian football.
Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela all share a love for baseball. The Caribbean World Series is immensely popular, and most Major League Baseball players come from the Dominican Republic, which produces some of baseball’s top talent.
Basketball has a hold on Argentina, China, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey. That’s a lot of basketball.
The Indian subcontinent loves cricket. The game is looked at as almost a religion in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Popular cricket players are voted into their country’s legislatures, and without the game, Indians wouldn’t know what to talk to their neighbors about.
The Bahamas, Croatia, Nepal, Paraguay and the Republic of Vietnam all love tennis.
Ice hockey is played a lot in Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Norway and Switzerland, probably with the help of all that ice. With the speed and frequent physical contact that the sport yields, it’s easy to see why it’s such a hit. The ice hockey world championship hosts the “big six,” which are the six teams that have dominated play through international hockey. These teams are Canada, the United States, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden.
Even martial arts takes a stand as an immensely popular sport in Guatemala and Slovenia.
New Zealand loves rugby, and it is the country’s national sport. The New Zealand National Rugby Union Team is called the All Blacks and are famous for their “Haka.” Haka means strength and unity and is the team’s chant, complete with foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping. New Zealand has won the Rugby World Cup three times and 1.7 million New Zealanders watch rugby.
Every country comes with its own traditions, languages, likes and dislikes. A country’s most popular sport becomes part of its citizens’ lives. Sports bring people together and give them something to cheer for together, bonding a people together with a unifying factor in any country.