The Most Popular Sports In America

DME and I recently were having a debate about the most popular sports in America. We were talking about TBO's recent article about the 13 cities with 4 pro major sports teams. DME wondered out loud why hockey was considered the 4th major sport because he thought more people attended/ followed other sports like golf and tennis over hockey. This prompted an argument between DME and a girl that was sitting near us about the merits and love of hockey. Well, I decided to look it up, what are the most popular sports in America. Do Americans really like golf and tennis or maybe even NASCAR over hockey?

Rank- League- Average Attendance Per Game of League
1) NASCAR- 200,000 - 300,000
2) NFL- 67,738
3) FBS- 46,971
4) MLB- 32,717
5) MLS- 16,464
6) NBA- 17,394
7) NHL- 17, 265
8) AFL- 12,415
9) WNBA- 8,039
10) NCAAB- 5,277

However, fan attendance doesn't tell the entire story. 1) A lot of fan will watch games on TV, so it's entirely possible that the sport may have a high attendance but low popularity elsewhere- or vice versa 2) Some sports (i.e. the new Cowboys Stadium) may just have bigger arenas than other sports

Luckily, a Harris Poll helps to tell the entire story. They polled people to see what there favorite sports to help determine what the most popular sports in America are (click to enlarge):

Therefore, the most popular sports in America looks a bit different than attendance numbers:

1) NFL
2) MLB
3) FBS
5) NHL
6) NBA
6) PGA
9) MLS
9) PBA
9) Horse Racing

So now back to the original argument that sparked this post: DME was wrong about the immense popularity of hockey in America. Hockey is MUCH more popular than either golf or tennis and absolutely should be considered one of the top 4 in America.

-Harris Poll
-Sports Attendance


David "MVP" Eckstein said...

Nope; Next is the Worst GM In America competition.

Put fav. sport on the right

The 'Bright' One said...

no, i want people to rank their fav sports 1-5 or whatever. we cant do that on the side of the blog

Sexy Rexy said...

What a dumb comment TBO, how else do you expect to find out what the most popular sport is. Let's just ALWAYS discredit EVERYTHING EVERYBODY says ever just because TBO thinks people are morons. Sure people who watch NASCAR are morons- but there's a helluva lot of morons out there who sit around and drink beer and still watch the sport

Sexy Rexy said...

oops sorry TBO I accidently deleted ur post

David "MVP" Eckstein said...

TBO: that is not how surveys work. You can't rank 1-5. You can only cast equally weighted votes. Thus, just do a thing on the side if you want. I'd trust the other poll more, though.

Sexy Rexy said...

This debate by TBO is dumb. The Harris Poll is a scientific and well respected polling service. If you want to find a flaw in the way the maybe polled people, then express that concern, but just because you don't like the results doesn't mean you have to throw a hissy fit.

The 10-15 or so people that would respond to a poll on the side or the 50 or so people that would respond to a survey on the top is nowhere near as representative or scientific as a Harris Poll would be.

This post is about the most POPULAR sports in America and not about what's BEST. "Best" is extremely subjective and no matter what results are found and in what way, they will never be correct or accurate. Versus "popular" which is much more objective. You can measure things like attendance and TV ratings and apparel sales and such. And asking people their sports preference is much more objective than asking them to determine which sport is best. These polls don't flat out ask people "what sport do you prefer"- they have multiple questions asked in a specific order to gain accurate results.

We're not doing a survey or a side poll because TBO doesn't like or agree with a professional poll. TBO doing either a poll or survey will accomplish nothing. Even if he does gets the results he intends, no way will that be sufficient evidence to contradict the Harris Poll

The 'Bright' One said...

You two need to stop trying to prove that you're smarter than me.

1) My comment that people are morons stands alone and is not directed at this post or the Harris pole specifically. I'm just saying you have to consider the intelligence of the people that are partaking in the pole. DME should know this very well, with all the people who have been sucked into the Obama propoganda

2) What is wrong with me wanting a pole asking people to rank their top sports? Yes, the top "favorite" sport is football for 25%, but i want to know what their 2nd, 3rd, 4th...choice is and then add up the weighted rankings. Like MVP voting, the person with the most 1st place votes doesnt necessarily win the MVP if others get more combined 2nd and 3rd place votes.

3) The attendance argument has almost no correlation with popularity, so that was pretty dumb.

4) The Harris pole is more concerned with dividing the sample into ethnicity, age, and gender as opposed to pure popularity.

5) I'm not putting up poles/surveys on this site cause i dont know how and dont really care. Also, the maximum 20 votes we get is barely enough for a t-distribution

Sexy Rexy said...

-Yes people are morons in general. But you just made this "general" comment for no reason and not related to the post whatsoever? Really?
-You still can't just discredit all polls by saying "people are dumb" which is what you still are doing
-Where did DME or myself ever claim that we were smarter than you? Because we made rational arguments disputing your claims, we automatically are claiming we're "smarter than you"? I've said your argument is 'dumb' but in no way should that be construed that the person making the argument is dumb; I made no ad hominem attacks. Wow, how low is your self-esteem? (see there is an ad hominem attack)
-If you want to put up a poll for your own benefit, be my guest. But it was heavily implied that you wanted to do this to seemingly contradict the Harris Poll
-You're right, the attendance argument is pointless. I originally started off my post about it and then I stumbled across the Harris Poll and then didn't feel like deleted it

David "MVP" Eckstein said...

For me, it is sufficient to note that the historical evidence and consensus identified by Justice SCALIA, the considerations of fairness identified by Justice BRENNAN, and the common sense displayed by Justice WHITE, all combine to demonstrate that this is, indeed, a very easy case. Accordingly, I agree that the judgment should be affirmed.

Sexy Rexy said...

thank you Justice Stevens

Anonymous said...

As far as the most popular sports in the world is concerned, nothing beats soccer :D

Jules Thrift said...

If you wonder about something "out loud," you wonder "aloud." Not "allowed." "Allowed" means that you have permission to do something.

Sexy Rexy said...

We here at GOI never claim to actually edit our posts, but its changed, thank you.

The King said...

If this discussion is still alive....
recently, a study of what the internet audience in America browses the most, revealed that Baseball is THE most popular sport in America. Study based on Alexa traffic stats of sports websites.
As expected, this was followed by football and basketball. Check out the list here .

hepafilterairpurifier said...

I'd like too see the top 50 sports. honeywell hepa

Doug said...

The Bright One should know that in this usage, the spelling is "poll"...not pole.

Anonymous said...

that seemed to be pretty fair

Anonymous said...

MLS does not give the best example, but Football(soccer) is the best imo. That being European and South American teams.