Polearmball---Top 20 Sports 
By Marc Jenkins

Sports are an important fabric of society not only in America but also throughout the entire world. This is evident by the amounts people who not only show up at games played throughout the globe as well as the numerous participants different sports have also. Each year hundreds of millions of people compete in a various number of sports which not only provides the participants with joy but also keeps them physically fit in a variety of manners. There are several different types of sports which people throughout the world enjoy such as ball sports, extreme sports, team sports and individual sports. Here is a list of the top 20 sports in the world based on the number of people who participate in them. 

Team Sports 
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport not only in terms of amount of fans and viewers but also when it comes to the number of participants it has as well. Also known as Association football, soccer first began in the mid-century and is enjoyed by participants in over 200 countries across the world. In 2012 alone there were over 250,000,000 people worldwide who played soccer at least once and 17,000,000 in the United States.
Cricket is another very popular team sport throughout the globe and in 2012 more than 135,000,000 million people took to the field with a bat and ball competing in the sport. The popularity of the game isn’t so high in America however with just over 90,000 participants playing this historic ball sport. Cricket is also the national sport of Australia and enjoyed by many in that nation. 
Basketball is a game that was just particularly popular in the U.S. until the 1990’s however since then participants all over the world have enjoyed competing in Dr. James Naismith’s incredible invention. The evolution of the game isn’t just notable with the amount of people who now play but also in the style and delivery in which the players compete in during a completion as now athletes are bigger, stronger and faster which allows them to fly through the air in ways Dr. Naismith may have never imagined. In 2012 over 130,000,000 people worldwide enjoyed a game or round ball or two and approximately 26,300,000 over them were Americans. 
Baseball is another traditional American team sport that has caught on throughout the entire world and now people from all over enjoy competing in one of summer’s greatest games. In 2012 more than 122,000,000 worldwide stepped onto a baseball diamond of some sort and played the game with just 11,500,000 of them hailing from the United States. The World Baseball Classic is a prime example of how much the sport has grown throughout the globe as 16 nations compete each one another every four years to see which one is the sports most dominant. At one point and time baseball was considered America’s national pastime.
Volleyball is a very popular team sport that can be played on various surfaces including hardwood floors inside of a gymnasium or even on a sunny, sandy beach as well. Beach volley ball has become increasingly popular over the past few decades as it has even become an official Olympic sport since 1996 while the traditional form of the sport has been one since 1964. In 2012 nearly 4,000,000 Americans participated in a volleyball match of some kind and over 87,000,000 did the same worldwide. 
Field Hockey
Field Hockey may not be thought of first when it comes to team sports however it is a very popular game that millions of people enjoy throughout the world. In 2012 nearly 53,000,000 people lined up on a field to indulge in the sport with just over 4,000,000 of them coming from the United States. 
American Football
American Football may be the king of sports in terms of money making and the most popular professional league (NFL) to watch in the U.S., but worldwide it has some catching up to do with some of the other major sports. In 2012 over 15,000,000 Americans took to the grid iron to play a game or more while worldwide that number only jumped up to approximately 32,000,000.
Ice Hockey 
Ice Hockey is the first form of hockey that many think of when pondering the sport and even though it may not be as popular as field hockey many residents of Canada, Russia and the United States love the game. In 2012 over 4,000,000 Americans participated in the sport and nearly 14,500,000 did so worldwide. 
Rugby is one of the world’s oldest sports still in existence and without it game’s such as soccer and American football would have never came about. Though it has been around for so long it still remains as one of the world’s most popular team sports and over 6,000,000 people competed in the sport in 2012 with approximately 88,000 of them hailing from the U.S. 
Lacrosse is a team sport that has seen its popularity increase over the past decade or so not only in America but also throughout the world. In 2012 over 1,000,000 Americans and nearly 12,000,000 people worldwide competed in this team sport that combines elements of soccer, hockey and American football. 
Individual Sports
Tennis is an individual ball sport which is immensely popular throughout the world amongst all ages, races and even sexes. In 2012 the sport had over 68,500,000 participants worldwide with nearly 28,000,000 of them hailing from the United States. 
Table Tennis
Table Tennis or Ping Pong as referred to by many in the U.S. is a very simplistic yet popular game throughout the world. In 2012 over 30,000,000 people participated in the sport with nearly 19,500,000 Americans making up that large number.
Badminton is a sport that has been around for a very long time but through the Olympics and other forms of television notoriety has seen increased popularity as of late. This somewhat peculiar sport had over 100,000 American and nearly 14,000,000 participants worldwide during the year of 2012. 
It seems as if golf is the number one sport for people to participate in while on vacation or simply just to relax which makes it easily one of the world’s top individual ball sports. Over 80,000,000 people participated in the game of golf in 2012 and nearly 27,000,000 of them hailed from the United States. 
Boxing may not be as popular as it once was in America but it is still well liked throughout the entire world. Over the past decade the combination of the rise of Mixed Martial Arts along with the decline of quality fighters who box have contributed to sports decline in popularity here in the U.S. and it shows by the fact that just under 2,000,000 Americans participated in the sport in 2012. However worldwide that number jumped to over 21,000,000 with most of its combatants hailing from across the pond in Europe where boxing still remains larger than life. 
Gymnastics isn’t a sport that one would particularly think is as popular as it is however in 2012 nearly 51,000,000 people competed in the sport in some form. Of that staggering number 7,000,000 of those participants were from the United States and more than 60% were females which proves that this is one sport where girls truly do rock. 
Bowling is the ultimate leisure sport where men, women, boys and girls can all go to the alley and spend some great time together with family or friends and possibly even alone. This ball sport can be played as either an individual sport or a team one and in 2012 nearly 15,700,000 people worldwide competed regularly in it with 3,200,000 of them hailing from the U.S. When you switch the competed regularly phrase to at least once that number sky rockets to 200,000,000 worldwide and 70,000,000 in America.
Swimming can be considered just a leisure activity or a competitive water sport based on how it is being done. There are also different types of swimming events within the sport such individual races, teams races as well as synchronized competitions. In 2012 over 14,000,000 people worldwide participated in some form of competitive swimming with 2,500,000 of them coming from America. 
Track and Field
Track and Field is not only a very popular sport throughout the world but also is the most diverse as far as the several different games which are included with the sport as a whole. Some of these games include sprinting, marathon running, hurdles, javelin, high jumping, long jumping and more. In 2012 over 60,000,000 people worldwide competed in some form of track and field competition with 10,000,000 of those participants hailing from the U.S.
Riding a bicycle is something that pretty much everyone knows how to do, it is something that we learn as children and never forget how to successfully do it. The sport of cycling is something totally different however because even though everyone knows how to ride a bike not everyone competes in cycling styled races. There were however over 57,000,000 participants in the sport worldwide in 2012 with nearly 23,000,000 of them being American citizens. 
The Extra Five 
Paintball has become widely popular amongst the younger demographic not only in America but also across the globe. Some consider the game a thrilling team sport that pits several opponents against one another with a single mission at hand, defeating the opposite team. In 2012 more than 4,000,000 Americans engaged in the sport of paintball while that number rose to over 12,000,000 worldwide basically stating that the game is here to stay.
Roller Derby
Roller Derby is a sport that has been in existence since the early 1920’s and has seen a boost in its popularity over the past two decades with several professional leagues and even televisions shows appearing everywhere. This sport requires that a competitor has good skating ability along with the physicality to endure tough blows to the body and head from opponents as well as able to dish some out themselves. In 2012 over 10,000,000 people participated in the sport of roller derby with 2,000,000 of them hailing from the United States.
Parkour was first used in the military as a form of training exercise but has since evolved into a new sports craze which was participated in by nearly 7,000,000 people worldwide in 2012. Parkour can include several different motions throughout however the majority of it has to do with free running. In 2012 just under 750,000 Americans are known to have competed in this sport. 
Tricking combines acrobatics and martial arts for a unique sport which has become immensely popular over the past decade thanks in large to the success seen it over the internet. Tricking was first developed in the 1960’s when its originators decided to put together forms of taekwondo with spins and flips however now it has evolved into much more with the use of multiple forms of martial arts with advanced styles of acrobatics. In 2012 nearly 400,000 Americans engaged in tricking while over 2,000,000 participants did so worldwide. 
Extreme Breakdancing   
Breakdancing first emerged onto the scene during the 1970’s in New York City as part of the B-Boy era however now it has been taken to another level with the introduction of extreme breakdancing. Extreme breakdancing combines the traditional style of breaking with enhanced moves which separate themselves from its predecessor based on the level of difficulty it takes to perform them. In 2012 this sport had over 2,000,000 participants worldwide with nearly half of them (just under 1,000,000) hailing from the U.S.  
Marc Jenkins Bio 
Marc Jenkins is an intelligent and witty sports journalist who matches accurate facts with bold opinions in all aspects within the world of sports. Marc has been involved intimately in the world of sports journalism for over five years in both online and print publication as well as broadcast journalism. Marc always tells it like it is and never is shy when it comes to voicing his opinion and saying what needs to be said. Always seeking further advancement within his field of craft, Marc has contributed for several companies in several different roles throughout his five plus years in the business. Here a few of his stops along his road to success within the world of sports journalism: 
-Sports Business Columnist at Ocoos.com
-Sports Analyst at Sidelinesapp.com
-Gallery Contributor at Mylikes.com
-Sports Talk Podcast Co-Host at 300lbs of Sports Knowledge Podcast
-Pittsburgh Steelers Beat Writer at Football.com
-National Columnist at RantSports.com
-Featured Monthly Contributor at Premier Players Magazine
-Featured Contributor at Yahoo! Sports
-Featured Contributor at Golflink.com
-Co-Host of Double Play Sports Hour Sports Talk Radio Show at WBCR1090 AM in Brooklyn, NY as well as CyberstationUSA.com
Featured Sports Contributor at TheGo.com.au (Australian Based Site)

Follow Marc:
Twitter @MMJSportsWorld
Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/105135209296904502113/posts

Top 20 Most Popular Sports in the United States
By James Folsom

Basketball-  Number 1
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world and the United States is the number one basketball playing country on the planet. The game was invented by an American, Dr. James Naismith in December of 1891. The game started as a way to play indoors in inclement weather. The original version of the game used a soccer (football) ball and peach baskets and has since evolved into the game we know today.
According to the 2009 US Census Bureau, 24 million Americans participate in the sport annually. There 30 teams in the NBA, the top professional association in the United States. The NBA is the league that attracts the best players in the world.
There are over 350 colleges and universities in the “Division I” level that have basketball teams for both men and women. The NCAA Tournament which comprises 68 teams in men’s basketball and 64 in women’s is one of the most popular sporting events in the country. Billions of dollars are invested and spent during “March Madness” each year as the entire country is consumed with college basketball.
It is estimated by http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/a-closer-look-at-some-trends-in-youth-sport-participation that 71% of boys ages 6 through 17 participate in basketball and 55% of girls age 6 to 17 participate in basketball as well.

Football (Gridiron)- Number 2
If basketball is the most popular sport in the United States, that will be news to a lot of us. Football (American football) is clearly the most watched sport in the Unites States. The National Football League (NFL) is the reason the thousands of sports-themed bars and restaurants throughout the country do such a good business. Fans who are not lucky enough to be among the 75,000 fans at each game typically pack sports bars each week where they can watch all the games on the many TVs all over the bar.
If there is any bigger sport than the NFL, it would be college football. College football season is the greatest time of year for many football lovers throughout the country. Since many people do not live near a city where the NFL is played, they turn their attention to college football. Every state has a college or university with a football team and in many of these states, the university will have a bigger stadium than an NFL team would have. And they fill these stadiums up no matter how the team is doing.
Then there is high school football. Friday nights in the fall mean high school football. Every town in America has a high school with a football team. That means that in many of these towns, especially the smaller ones, the high school game is the place to be on Friday night.
It is estimated that 65% of boys age 6 to 17 participate in football according to http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/a-closer-look-at-some-trends-in-youth-sport-participation

Soccer (football) - Number 3
Soccer (football everywhere else) is growing in popularity in the United States. Professional soccer still lags behind football, baseball, basketball and hockey, but it is gaining on the “Big Four”. The U. S. women routinely win world championships, such as the Olympic Gold Medal and the World Cup. Cable TV channels such as FOX Soccer and ESPN show many of the top matches from European soccer in the States and the MLS (Major League Soccer) gets more popular every year. British star David Beckham made a huge impact on the MLS when he signed on to play with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He was part of two MLS Cup Championship teams before retiring at the end of the 2013 season.
Soccer has long been a favorite sport among the youth in the United States. Both boys and girls all over the country participate in youth leagues, making Saturday soccer trips a family outing so popular that the term “soccer mom” has been adopted as a demographic to describe women with young children.
It is estimated that 51% of boys and 40% of girls age 6 to 17 participate in soccer according to http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/a-closer-look-at-some-trends-in-youth-sport-participation.
Baseball- Number 4
Baseball is often called “the National Pastime” in the United States. The sport was the original team sport in the United States. Accounts differ as to the origins of the game as it has evolved for other sports popular in Europe such as Cricket and Rounders. Some of the professional teams such as the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies are well over 100 years old. 
The Major League baseball season lasts from March until early November. The regular season is 162 games per team which mean most teams play a game nearly every day during the six months between April and September. This makes a starting pitching rotation of five men since a pitcher who throws 100 pitches or more needs four days to recover. 
College baseball is not as popular as football or basketball, but the sport is growing in popularity since the 1980s when ESPN began televising the College World Series, held annually in Omaha, Nebraska. Now many colleges and universities are putting more emphasis on baseball as crowds and TV viewership grows. Many younger players now choose to go to college and play baseball while earning a degree rather than go into the minor leagues out of high school.
Little League baseball is a rite of growing up among many of America’s youth. If there is a more popular game for children than soccer, it is baseball. In any big city or small town in America, kids can play in organized baseball leagues. 
According to http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/a-closer-look-at-some-trends-in-youth-sport-participation 38% of girls and 48% of boys ages 6 to 17 participate in baseball/softball.
Hockey (ice) - Number 5 
Ice hockey is more of a regional sport in the United States. Since most of the Southern U. S. sees little or no ice and snow throughout the winter, most people in those areas have no opportunity to play or watch ice hockey. But in the Northern United States, this is a very popular sport. 
In 1980, the United States won the Olympic Gold Medal, which is possibly the greatest sports moment in U.S. history, even among non-hockey fans. Any American who was alive in 1980 can tell you exactly where they were when they saw or heard that the Americans beat the powerful Soviet Hockey teams in the next to last game in the Medal Round.
The NHL is made up mostly of teams from the United States and is among the most popular professional sports leagues in the nation. Hockey is televised nationally by NBC sports and ratings in recent seasons have been very positive. 
Many movies have been made about hockey in the States, such as “Miracle” (the story of the 1980 Olympic Team” and fiction such as “The Mighty Ducks” (about youth hockey), “Slap Shot” (about minor league hockey) and “Youngblood” and have become extremely popular. 
Youth hockey is also growing in cities where the NHL fields a team. Even in warm weather, ice skating rinks can be found in many cities and youth hockey is played in many of them. 
Number 7 Snow and Skate Boarding
NASCAR (stock car auto racing) - Number 6
Stock car auto racing is a hugely popular sport in the United States. All over America, small half mile dirt tracks are a favorite destination of race fans on Friday and Saturday nights. Young drivers yearn to become stars of the big leagues of racing someday (NASCAR) race against guys who think of racing as their weekend hobby. 
Those lucky enough to make their way up from racing go-karts as a kid, sprint cars, then one of the several NASCAR series including the Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series to make it to the NASCAR Sprint Cup, race in front of hundreds of thousands of fans each week and on national television in front of millions of fans. 
The Daytona 500 is the crown jewel of stock car racing. It is run every February on the high banked Daytona International Speedway. Over 200,000 fans pack the famous speedway to watch the stars such as Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt, Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart battle for stock car racing’s biggest prize. 
Stock car racing is mostly a spectator sport. Very few people participate in auto racing, mostly because it requires a lot of time, money and mechanical expertise to participate. Cars get wrecked and must either be fixed or replaced. It takes people with a lot of ingenuity, mechanical know-how and money to get going in the racing business. 
Stock car racing started out as a “southern sport” but with the explosion of cable TV and sports media in the 1990s, NASCAR caught on and became a national obsession by the 1990s.