Sports that Captivate America: Popular American Sports

Updated on May 05, 2024 | Online US Visa

Sports are an important part of culture in the United States of America. American football is the most popular spectator sport to watch in the United States, followed by baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and soccer, which make up the five major sports.

For some people, sports are mere games designed to entertain the audience and get their adrenaline rushing, but for Americans, well Americans take sports quite seriously. It is an emotion they do not like to tarry with. It forms a very integral part of their culture and there are holidays on special occasions to let people have their slice of life. Yes, it is a great event for them, and the enthusiasm is recognised nationally. You will notice that families swarm to stadiums and sports venues to watch a baseball match, or let's say football tournament or any sports they prefer and this, by the way, is their way of enjoying life, with their families of toddlers and teenagers.

Amongst all the exciting sports that America enjoys, we might recognise baseball as their traditional sport. Starting in the 18th century, with an almost professional National Baseball Club in the year 1860 and then onwards baseball came to be known as the national pastime of Americans. What other countries recognise as their ‘national sport’; America chooses to identify it as their ‘national pastime’.

As of today, football is the most played sport in the United States of America. Also, we should not forget that basketball also took birth in the USA, in the year 1891. During that time, basketball was not that famous across the world, people were only getting to know and understand the sport. It was the YMCA that played a crucial role in spreading the news of basketball across the globe.

The United States is also known to have harboured quite several Olympic Games from the year 1904 (St. Louis Missouri), to 2002 and is destined to host the Olympics again in the year 2028 in LA. Virtually, they are also known to have won more than average Olympic medals in all sports. In this article below, we will be introducing you to some of the famous sports that are celebrated in the states

Wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

Let us just say that World Wrestling Entertainment not just entertained the citizens of America but kept the pinnacle of excitement high for fans across the world. Whether it is the insane build-ups during fights or the trash-talking which gets the moment heated for both the players and the fans, we all know that the show would attract millions of viewers on screen and to the circle from around the world and amongst these fans, Americans would form the majority.

Although the tickets sell-out for Raw and Smackdown was always top-notch, the hype would get more out of control when wrestling superstars like, Kane, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, The Rock, John Cena, Undertaker and The Big Show would enter the wrestling circle. Their existence itself would get the crowd cheering and supporting their respective wrestler. It wasn't a surprise when WrestleMania 37 broke all records with a global viewership of about 1.1 billion. Now, that is some insanely obsessive sports watching.

If you too wish to know what the hustle is all about, you should surely join the bandwagon and find out everything about this sport and why it is celebrated by people of all ages and gender across all continents. The popularity of the sport is such that the markets got flooded with WWE Trump cards. The whole hype got transferred into playing card games with all popular wrestlers and their achievements listed down in the cards. Some enthusiasts made it a point to collect all the known cards as a part of their gaming collection and would take great pride in showing off those cards to their friends. As we had rightfully described earlier, the sports here essentially become a part of the culture.

Football, National Football League (NFL)

While the tussle between MLB (baseball) and NBA (basketball) is on, it is sweet to watch this never-ending battle being taken over by NFL (American Football). The National Football League is a matter of seriousness for every American, irrespective of the fact whether they are on-field or off-field. It upholds the value of competitiveness and integrity amongst both the players and the supporters.

The fans sort of develop a strong emotional connection with the players on the field. It is not just the teams that are performing, but it becomes a matter of pride for both the players and the ones who are watching their teams play. Keeping a track of the 14.9 million viewership in the 2020 NFL season, the surveys suggest that about 73% of all American men and about 55% of American women tend to watch football regularly. As per the metrics of ESPN, almost half of America likes and appreciates. NFL which amounts to an estimated 160,000,000. of US fans. Did we anticipate that, didn’t we?

One of the craziest events for which the whole of America waits wholeheartedly is the annual Super Bowl! The viewership of this event rose to approximately 96.4 million for last year's Super Bowl 55, and by the way, this count includes people from across the world and not just America. What keeps the fan base hustling and bustling is the active participation of players like Odell Beckham Junior and Tom Brady who bring in the required competitive spark in the game, thus making it more irresistible for the fans.

National Basketball Association (NBA)

We believe this goes without saying that every other teenager in America has grown up playing and watching a lot of Basketball. The legacy of this sport has been swiftly passed on from generation to generation, only adding to the craziness of the spirit of the game. You must have watched a tonne of mainstream American films which showcased teenagers falling in love with this sport. It is not a fact unknown that the fame and name of the NBA are only growing by the hour and is now one of the most popular sports leagues across the globe.

The viewership of last year's NBA tournament shot up to 1.34 million per game. This contains the excitement of about 55% of American men and roughly 36% of women, investing their time and energy in the sport. Basketball is indeed one of the beloved sports of the USA. You might find this insane, but people wait for the NBA finals with pent up excitement and even take a leave from their jobs to peacefully watch the events. Players like Shaquille O Neal, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Devin Booker continue to stir the madness that encircles the crowd with their undying spirit on the field.

With the tragic passing away of the renowned player Kobe Bryant, a part of the game’s spirit was extinguished forever. His legacy will always be celebrated through the coming years of basketball.

National Hockey League (NHL)

Ice hockey is one of the rising sports in the world and the National Hockey League of America happens to be one of the best teams on board. The reason why NHL ranks higher in the list of commendable teams is that about 50% of Americans within the age group of 18 to 29 are noticed to be die-hard fans of this sport. The seriousness of the NHL led it to become the premier professional ice hockey league in the world. It also happens to be the third most popular sport in the United States.

Major League Baseball (MLB)

This sport perhaps needs no introduction. If you have watched a good share of American films and cartoons, you will notice the recurring portrayal of baseball matches quite sometimes. Before the world introduces you to the sport directly, you have already been accustomed to the various details of baseball through films.

It is by a few inches that baseball beats the fame of basketball in America and is often connoted as the national pastime of many. For more than 150 years, the sport has contributed greatly to American culture and the economy of the states. With an ever-growing viewership of approximately 8.3 million in 2020 all Star Games, baseball rises to the top second position in the list. Due to its growing popularity, it is now followed closely by a huge majority of American citizens.

It is primarily the legacy of famed players like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams that the sport has now gained a different momentum in the eyes of the viewers.


Tennis Tennis

Tennis is undoubtedly one of the most-watched sports on television with a huge chunk of its audience being driven from the USA. It seems like Americans are a lot invested in all kinds of sports, tennis being one of their favourites. While Serena Williams and John Robert Isner are the American professional players, a new wave of enthusiasm revives the spirit of tennis. This enthusiasm is then doubled when players like Roger Federer, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic.

This source of madness that encircles the world of tennis is driven by the Wimbledon Cup, The Olympic Games, and the Grand Slams, which keep the engagement of viewers intact. The largest fan base of Tennis comes from America with fans talking about 16.59% of all the global watchers of tennis in the year 2021, as the survey suggests.

Major League Soccer (MLS)

While basketball, football, baseball and hockey tend to occupy the top positions in the list of popular games in the US, soccer still ranks 5th in the list and has not left the scene yet as many believe it too.

American MLS tends to revive the legacy which was left behind and with each passing hour, soccer is gaining followers and viewership across the globe. As per the statistics, approximately 110 million fans single-handedly contribute to the fan base of soccer around the world.

This interest was further triggered when football legends like Wayne Rooney and David Beckham got inducted, fans unevenly swarmed to soccer once again. Considering the rise in the fan following of soccer it might even make it to the topmost position in the coming years.


If we have Tiger Woods standing tall in the kingdom of golf, the sport is undoubtedly going to make it to the top ten list. One of the most interesting parts of golf is that anyone can play it, be it a basketball player or a soccer player, or hockey player, in their me-time they tend to enjoy golf as a relaxing sport.

Something they play for sheer delight and not for competition. As you already know, golf has always been tagged as the sport of the rich. It is the sport that the bourgeoisie class tend to take part in for a display of their shenanigans.

However, despite golf being a rich man's sport, one-third of all American citizens form its fanbase, which amounts to approximately 100 million fans from the states alone. Also, the viewership rapidly swelled in the final round of the 2021 U.S. Open with about 5.7 million of the viewers hailing from America.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

When it is a matter of exciting the audience, there are not a lot of things that can match up with a cold-blooded, spine-chilling, climatic knockout or a breath-taking near-death choke. Mixed Martial Arts, to be specific the UFC, is a combination of accumulated levels of skill and contains a good amount of no-barrier-in-trash-talking sessions which obviously attracts a large mass of combat sports fans not just from America but all around the world.

One very interesting fact to note is that the UFC chairman Dana White also happens to be an incredibly talented businessman, who knows how to go about building up major fights like Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier, managing fresh views every minute and counting more dollars by the second. Just cleverly transforming sports into a healthy business. Since the fanbase for this sport is mostly driven from the US, Mixed Martial Arts occupies the seventh spot in the list of top ten popular sports in the USA. 

With the rapidly multiplying fan base encompassing people of all age groups, the viewership for this sport has now become a hot topic in the USA. In fact, all major UFC events manage to get at least 2.4 million pay-per-views. This event went on to become the record setting pay-per-views watch which included about two-thirds of American fans only for the McGregor vs Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. This proves the kind of craze Americans have for the sport.


If you have watched films like 'Rocky', you will truly understand the cultural impact boxing had, not just on society but on Hollywood too. While the sport might seem a little too physical and gruesome to watch, believe us when we say that fans fight to get a front seat in this sport and cheer their heart out to emotionally support their favourite boxer.

The sight is something to watch when two boxers struggle to knock each other out while the fans go crazy screaming out their names. In most cases, the referee of the match becomes as good as worthless when the heat of the match gets to another level.

Undoubtedly, it was legendary sportsmen like Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather and Mike Tyson that established the fundamentals of boxing within the ring which is now very gracefully carried forward by newcomers (also YouTubers) like Jake Paul and Logan Paul bringing in a new wave of viewers.

Boxing has a history attached to it with a wide number of places across the world, but its heart resides in the USA, particularly Las Vegas where most of the important fights took place. This forms one of the primary reasons why boxing has a special attachment with American culture and is now even closely associated with betting and casinos.

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