Pretty much everybody in this world has an interest in a sport. Whether they play it themselves or watch sports on a regular basis. Playing sports is a fun way to stay active, and watching sport is great for entertainment. Not every country enjoys the same sport. Even though soccer is the most popular sport in the entire world, there are some surprising sports that are incredibly popular in certain countries.

Soccer (football)

Soccer, also known as football, is the most popular sport in the entire world. Most of South America, Africa and Europe enjoy soccer as their favorite sport to play and to watch. Even Greenland, Indonesia and Malaysia have soccer as their favorite sport! All over the world, you will find kids and adults playing this sport on the streets and with their local team. Competitions run through the entire year, but most of them are in summer.

Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is Canada and Finland’s sport of choice. It is also very popular in Russia, the rest of Scandinavia and the US. It’s a fast hockey game played on ice. In winters in northern countries, you will find ice hockey rinks in neighborhoods, so it is accessible for everyone to play. Competitions and trainings are usually in winter, thought professionals and paid amateurs aim to train almost year round.

(American) Football

It must come as no surprise that American football is mostly played and watched in the United States of America. However, the biggest game ‘Superbowl’ is watched from all over the world. In the US and Canada they refer to the sport as just football, the rest of the world gets confused and will call the sport American football. Originally, football was led by a different set of rules. In 1876, football evolved from soccer and rugby and the rules shifted from soccer-style rules to rugby-style rules. Although football is more of a rugby game nowadays, a new name had not been requested. 


Australia, India and some countries surrounding India favor cricket as their most played sport. It is a bat-and-ball game that is played at the center of the field. Cricket has some similarities to baseball and softball, but still is an entire sport on its own.


Baseball is another sport that is very popular in the USA. It is, though, the most played sport in Caribbean countries and Venezuela. Baseball is also a bat-and-ball sport, but played very differently from cricket. Teams swap from offense to defense, and each round starts from one corner of the field.

Other popular sports

Skiing, basketball and rugby are other sports that are very popular in this world. Skiing is a sport a lot of people practice once every winter, but not many people will actually watch skiing on TV unless it is the Olympics. Basketball is popular mainly in Europe and North America, and it is Lithuania, Latvia and Philippines top pick. Countries like New Zealand and Papua New Guinea play mostly rugby.

Surprising sports

Then, there are a few sports that aren’t so common in the western countries that are popular in certain countries. Archery, for example, is Bhutan’s most popular sport. Kazakhstan’s top pick is wrestling. China mainly plays table tennis, Cambodia loves kick boxing and Ireland has their own form of football going on.