This article shows an image where most popular sport by country can be checked. It's a bit old (from 2006), but I guess not old enough for having changed a lot since then.

Clearly, soccer is the most famous sport worldwide by far, I haven't calculated it precisely, but easily 2/3 of the world population live in countries where soccer is the most famous sport.

What factors have brought soccer to be so famous worldwide? I'd like a brief explanation of why it has expanded so much at cost of other sports, as, although I don't know exactly what were in old times the most famous sports in other countries, it's sure that it's not like a lot of them got to develop soccer or something similar on their own.

  • Not enough for an answer but a strong governing body (FIFA) helps. World Cup is shown pretty much world wide.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 12, 2018 at 17:29

2 Answers 2


The basic rules are simple, it can be played almost anywhere, for the game you only need a ball, even two players are enough.

So almost everyone can play it almost anywhere without any special equipment. This makes football affordable and accessible for anyone and thus so popular.

And of course the worldwide broadcasting of major international competitions makes the game even more popular.


I agree with the answer. Not to mention the Federation has split up with many small regional confederations where a lot of the countries can participate. Not all the countries participating are good or maybe not all have international exposure but in one way or another, the game has become popular among the masses for its simplicity and ease of play. All you need is a ball a wall or another player and off you go. Here you can find the rankings for all the countries that are registered or have participated in some sort of tournament help by FIFA. I know the list has grown somewhat in the past years with new countries forming a national team and being added to the ranks.


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