Sport is almost as old as human civilization itself. In fact, historical evidence suggests that human beings have been playing sports for 3,000 years. A lot in sport has changed over time, although this love for dynamism and sporting prowess has remained the same. New technologies have revolutionized the way many sports are played today.
The concept known as sports science is also relatively new. This involves the use of science to improve not only athletes’ performance, but also other aspects of sport. One of the most recent trends in sports is the tendency to make them safer. Thus, athletes in the future may face a lower risk to their health and well-being than their current or past counterparts.
Football, 4 Billion Fans
Better known as soccer in the United States and Canada, football is the most popular sport in the world, with an estimated audience of 4 billion fans. Like some of the other sports on this list, the origins of football as we know it can be found in England in the nineteenth century. This, although history indicates that people were playing similar games two thousand years ago, in China.
One of the reasons for football’s popularity is that, unlike other sports that require expensive equipment, all you need to play football is a ball and your foot. Therefore, anyone, rich or poor, can enjoy this sport. It is played all over the world, but it is particularly popular in Europe, Central and South America and Africa.
Cricket, 2.5 Billion Fans
Cricket has 2.5 billion fans. The game is most popular in the UK and some former British colonies, including India, Pakistan and Australia. Like baseball, it involves two teams, a bat, a large field and points scored. There are, however, significant differences. Cricket requires a long rectangular field in the middle of which the ball is thrown at a batsman, as opposed to a mound in the center of a baseball field facing a marble hitter.
Hockey, 2 Milliards de Fans
Played on both ice and field, hockey has two billion followers. Field hockey is played mainly in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, while ice hockey is particularly popular in Canada, the United States and Northern Europe.
The game involves two teams trying to put a ball in the opposing team’s net with a hockey stick. Unlike ice hockey, field hockey usually does not involve body contact in the form of a check.
Tennis, 1 Billion
It is estimated that one billion people worldwide follow tennis. Which makes this sport very popular. In tennis, players on both sides of an elongated net try to hit a ball with a racket so that it overtakes their opponents or bounces twice off their opponents’ side to score points. Professional tennis players, such as Roger Federer and Serena Williams, are now known around the world.
Volleyball, 900 Million
Volleyball involves two teams. Each of the teams is located on the side of a raised net, trying to throw a ball on the ground on the side of the opposing team to score points. The game interests 900 million people, mainly in North America and Western Europe, but also in Asia, Australia and South America.
Table Tennis, 875 million
Think of it like tennis, except with what comes down to a table with a net in the center and players on either side trying to get a ball past their opponents. Also known as ping-pong, table tennis was born in England in the early 20th century. The game is now popular worldwide, with an estimated audience of 875 million. It is particularly popular in Asia, but is also followed in Europe, Africa and the Americas.