Which Sport is More Popular: Soccer or Basketball?

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Two of the leading sports around the world are soccer and basketball. With both of them having a fair share of fans in the sports scene, it can be challenging to identify their global impact. That leaves us questioning which sport is more popular between soccer and basketball.

The debate over soccer vs. basketball popularity has already been clarified for years. Yes, soccer is the most popular sport, and basketball lags behind it. Basketball may seem to win the race due to its social media exposure.

We’ll compare basketball and soccer’s popularity side by side; don’t miss it!

How Popular is BasketballHow Popular is Basketball?

Basketball has grown into a widely sought-after sport worldwide, thus captivating millions of fans and followers around the globe. From the fast-paced games and intense duels of professional players like the NBA to the grassroots level of amateur game sin different around the globe, basketball has gained popularity unmatched by other sporting leagues.

In the debate about the most popular sport, basketball is impossible not to be brought up. Basketball has global fans worldwide and is mainly from the United States.

Yes, basketball has captivated millions of fans globally, but is basketball more popular than soccer? The answer is no. It still lags behind the latter, which you will learn more about in the following section. 

Where is Basketball More Popular?

Since basketball made its debut in the United States, it is only understandable that the sport will dominate in the country. However, basketball became a global phenomenon, with a growing number of NBA fans every year.

It is popular in the US and expanded into different regions, countries, and localities. Below is the list of countries where basketball is the most popular.

United States

With the National Basketball Association originating in the United States, the sport has earned the most fans in the region. The most famous basketball players are mostly, if not all, from the country, so it makes sense.


The basketball craze spread like wildfire, and it is only natural for neighboring countries like Canada to catch the basketball virus. Aside from most Americans, the NBA also boasts Canadian players—proof that basketball is a significant event in the country.


Expanding to the East Asian region, China has recorded millions of basketball fans over the years. This country is a basketball paradise because they have a world-renowned basketball league called CBA or Chinese Basketball Association.

Even though Chinese basketball players are equally talented as the ones in the US, they rarely cross to the NBA league. Hence, there have been only a few Chinese NBA players dominating the NBA avenue.


The list is never complete without mentioning the Philippines, which has millions of basketball followers worldwide. Everywhere you go in the country, you will see basketball courts.

If you ever visit the country, you will witness how rich basketball is taught in their culture. Even in rural areas, make-shift basketball courts stand.

Not only that, but Filipino basketball fans also dominate the basketball side of social media. Every NBA season, the micro-blogging platform Twitter is flooded with Filipino fans’ takes.


Last but not least, in the top 5 list is Argentina. Their strong presence is evident in the number of Argentinian basketball players in the NBA. Also, the Argentina National Basketball team ranks fourth in the FIBA World Index.

How Many People Play Basketball in the World?

The International Federation of Basketball Association (FIBA) revealed an estimation of 450 million people around the world plays basketball. Hence, it is one of the most popular sports in the world by participation.

FIBA’s data includes male and female players from all walks of life; it does not matter if you are an amateur or professional player. However, it is essential to note that the data is just an estimation.

It does not fully disclose the whole population of basketball players. The reason is that they cannot track all the people who play basketball since not all players are registered in the league.

How Many Basketball Players are There?

As revealed by the International Federation of Basketball Association, there are 450 million people who play basketball around the globe. This estimation reflects men won women, people of all ages, and amateur and professional players.

Since not all players register themselves, especially if you are an amateur player, this data does not reflect the entire population of global basketball players. Hence, the data could be higher or lower than the actual numbers.

So, is basketball more popular than soccer? The answer is no. Check out the rest of the blog to know why.

How Popular is SoccerHow Popular is Soccer?

Soccer, also known as football, has become the most popular sport globally. How popular is soccer around the world, then? It has an estimated 4 billion fans. The game has gained universal acceptance and appeal, surpassing cultural, linguistic, and geographical boundaries.

At the international level, the FIFA World Cup is the most-watched sporting event globally, watched by billions of people. It only proves how big the market is for soccer or football games in the sports scene. Soccer wins in the soccer vs. basketball viewership race.

Where is Soccer More Popular?

Although soccer is a global phenomenon, some countries take most of the share in the soccer fan population. Below are the top countries where soccer is most popular.


Renowned for its “Samba style” of soccer, Brazil has produced some of the most celebrated soccer players globally, including Pelé and Ronaldinho. The country boasts a remarkable history of success in international soccer, having won the FIFA World Cup five times, a record number of victories.


Argentina is a nation that is passionate about soccer and has produced some of the most exceptional soccer players in history, such as Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. The passion for the sport is deeply ingrained in the Argentine culture, and soccer matches are frequently viewed as a source of national identity and pride.


Spain has achieved remarkable success recently, consecutively winning three major international tournaments between 2008 and 2012. The nation has a robust soccer culture, with renowned clubs such as Barcelona and Real Madrid attracting fans globally.

How Many People Play Soccer in the World

A 2020 report by FIFA estimates that around 270 million people worldwide actively play soccer, including professionals, amateurs, and recreational players. 

It should be noted that determining this number can be challenging and varies depending on how one defines a “soccer player.” The FIFA figure is just an estimation and does not cover the entire population.

How Many Soccer Players are There?

How popular is soccer around the world? Based on the report from FIFA, there are 270 million soccer players worldwide. The data includes all players regardless of gender, age, skill level, and other relevant criteria. So is

Wrapping Things Up: Which Sport is More Popular: Soccer or Basketball?

Soccer and basketball are the most famous sports in the world. Hence, they are compared to each occasionally, whether in difficulty or popularity. So, which sport is more prevalent between soccer and basketball?

The data above can conclude that soccer is the most famous sport. It has gathered millions and even billions of fans around the globe. So, the debate is over. We already have a basketball vs. soccer popularity race winner—of course, football brings home the title.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.

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Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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