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Sports have long been a pillar of American culture, and millions of fans worldwide enjoy American sports. In America, fans unite in stadiums and around televisions to cheer on their teams and favorite players to victory, a part of the American social life, unlike any other aspect of American culture.
But what are the most popular sports in the USA? We’ve rounded up the top 20 sports in America in 2023.
American football is undoubtedly the most popular sport in America. From the National Football League (NFL) Draft to the Superbowl, football brings in over 100 million annual television viewers. In addition to being the biggest sport in America, it’s the 9th most popular sport worldwide.
Second only to football in America is basketball. For over a century, basketball has captivated fans from collegiate to professional levels. The annual NCAA March Madness averaged 8.68 million viewers in 2023, while the NBA averaged 1.6 million.
Known as America’s favorite pastime, baseball is the third most popular sport in America. Major League Baseball (MLB) brought in an average of 96,000 viewers per game in 2022, and the 2022 World Series topped all primetime television for the seventh straight year, averaging 12,023,000 viewers.
One of the most popular sports in the world, soccer, is America’s fourth most popular sport. Major League Soccer (MLS) averaged 309,000 viewers for the 2022 season, but the sport’s popularity extends well beyond the MLS.
Ice hockey is another popular sport in America, enjoyed by fans at the collegiate, semi-professional, and professional levels, the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL Stanley Cup garnered an average of 4.6 million viewers in 2022.
Tennis, the sixth most popular sport in America, has increased in popularity in recent years. Much of this can be attributed to the rise of American tennis athletes dominated on the global tennis scene, making players like Serena Williams and Andre Agassi some of the biggest names in sports.
Golf is one sport in America that fans enjoy both as players and spectators. Many Americans head out for a round of golf for leisure, and players like Tiger Woods helped bring the sport’s popularity to its current status.
Boxing is a fan favorite for attending in person or tuning in on television and streaming services. An average of 8,000 people attend each event.
Racing and motorsports are quite popular in the USA. Leagues like NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One, and MotoGP have been pinnacles for the rise in motorsport’s popularity.
Professional wrestling is one of America’s most-watched sports. The WWE, in particular, has brought millions of fans and viewers to the sport and catapulted several professionals to careers in Hollywood.
Badminton is among the most popular sports at American schools and universities. Its simplicity and non-competitive nature invite players of all skill levels to enjoy it.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, and its popularity in America has skyrocketed in the last decade.
Volleyball is another popular sport in America at collegiate and professional levels, with participation at the high school level continuing to increase every year.
Originating in England, rugby’s popularity in America is on the rise. Participation in the sport grew by one million people between 2006 and 2018.
Lacrosse is quickly becoming one of the favorite sports in America to participate in, and it’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the USA. Participation has risen from 250,000 in 2011 to a whopping 830,000 in 2018.
Bowling is another favorite sport for leisure in America, but it also has quite a professional following. The most prominent competitive bowling organization in the world is the US Bowling Congress.
Another sport that originated in England, cricket, has become quite popular in America. Major League Cricket will officially begin on July 13, 2023, with six US teams.
Starting in California in the 1970s, BMX biking has become quite a popular sport in America. Around 3 million people participate in the sport every year.
Not to be confused with ice hockey, field hockey’s popularity is rising in the US. It’s predominately played by women in the eastern United States.
It may surprise you to find bocce on the list of America’s top 20 most popular sports. Still, bocce has become increasingly popular for such a relatively new sport. An estimated 25 million Americans play it annually.
Since 1972, football has been America’s favorite sport. 37% of adults in the USA say it is their favorite sport to watch. In the early 2000s, football’s popularity dropped slightly. However, it remains the king of American sports, surpassing basketball and baseball by a large margin.
While men have primarily dominated American sports, women’s sports are also gaining popularity. More women and girls are playing sports, closing the gap between men and women in sports. In fact, some of the most recognizable names in sports are professional female athletes, like Sue Bird, Simone Biles, Mia Hamm, Megan Rapione, and Serena Williams. The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has also risen in popularity in recent years, bringing in an average of 372,000 viewers on ESPN, more than Major League Soccer. The National Women’s soccer team is also increasingly popular among viewers, with the Women’s World Cup breaking viewership records. In addition, field hockey has been a historically female-dominated sport in America.
Lighting plays a critical role in sports at all levels. Many games and matches occur after dark and in indoor facilities, driving the necessity for well-lit playing spaces. When the lighting is correct, it makes playing the sport safer for the players and more enjoyable to watch for spectators. In addition, good lighting ensures referees can see all the plays properly so they make the correct calls, and fewer mistakes will be made by the players when they can see well.
When it comes to lighting for sports, AEON LED gives you quality, low-maintenance, customized solutions, helping you save money and time.
Contact us to request a lighting layout designed for your venue space and needs.