The World's Most Popular Sports
This page was inspired by an unpleasant individual by the name of pa, who posted a message on our Team Handball Message Board, which read, "Team Handball isn't the second most popular sport in the world. It truly sucks." This post was in response to a statement on our site attesting to the popularity of Team Handball worldwide. In response to such an accusation, we quickly searched the web for statistics about the popularity of team handball, and made an interesting discovery. In addition to Team Handball, at least a dozen other sports had web sites which laid claim to the title of second most popular sport in the world. Of course, this couldn't be true. Somebody had to be truly second, and the rest must be wrong! We set out on a quest to find the truth. Methods: First, we found every site on the web that made this bold statement, and sent an e-mail to every one, asking what their sources were, and what statistical information they based their claim on. We received numerous replies, all to the extent of "I heard it somewhere", or "I've always been told that", or "I saw it on another website". Not one webmaster could give us a shred of evidence that his/her claim was true. So, not to be distraught, we asked the International Federations of each sport which was reputed to be the world's most or second-most popular just how many people were estimated to play their sport worldwide. I've seen statistics based on most watched, or most money made, or most registered players, or most competition entries, but these all seem flawed. We figure that participation is the best measure available of popularity, since the majority of the world doesn't have television, or money to attend sporting events. The vast majority of people who play various sports don't register for teams, or compete in competitions either, such as in Basketball, Soccer, or Tennis, where many more people play just pickup games or recreationally. The...
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