By Number of Fans and Participants — The Sporting Blog


3. Hockey (Ice Hockey & Field Hockey): 3.5 Billions Fans /

Hockey is another incredibly popular sport, dating back to ancient times.

People used to play a similar game in Egypt around 4,000 years ago.

Ethiopians and Iranians have played the traditional form of hockey since 1,000 and 2,000 BC, respectively.

On the other hand, modern field hockey first became mainstream in England in the 18th century.

Young players would participate in hockey games organised at the school and college levels, as they still do today at both state and private schools.

The UK established the first Hockey Association in 1876. The Association formulated and implemented the first formal set of hockey rules. 

Today, over two billion people worldwide follow both field and ice hockey.

While field hockey is famous in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa, Ice Hockey has the most followers and players in Northern Europe and North America (USA and Canada).

Pakistan has won the Men’s Field Hockey World Cup four times, followed by Germany, Australia and the Netherlands with three titles.

India and Belgium have also won the Field Hockey World Cup.

Famous Field Hockey Players

  • Sean Curley – UK

  • Dyhand Chand – India

  • Jamie Dwyer – Australia

  • Hassan Sardar – Pakistan

Ice Hockey

The United States has more than 551,000 registered ice hockey players. Moreover, 30 million players play and participate in hockey games throughout the world.

Canada has around 5,000 outdoor ice hockey rinks, with over 2,860 indoor ice hockey rinks.

It is the most popular sport in Canada, with millions of followers.

The highest level of professional hockey is the National Hockey League, which features professional teams from the USA and Canada.

The most successful team in NHL history are the Montreal Canadiens, who have lifted the Stanley Cup 24 times.

Famous Ice Hockey Players

  • Wayne Gretzky

  • Sidney Crosby

  • Mario Lemieux

  • Bobby Orr

  • Gordie Howe

4. Tennis: 1 Billion Fans / 87 Million Unique Players

Tennis has gained popularity over the last 2 centuries, having originally been played by monks going back 600 years. The sport was known by various aliases such as Jeu de Paumme, Tenez, and lately Real Tennis.

The game we watch and play now is known as Lawn Tennis, to differentiate it from its older version.

People of all ages, walks of life and skill levels can play this sport, it is one of the most commonly played individual sports out there, although it does take a lot of practice to get good at.

Tennis is not considered an affordable sport, as in one that anyone can play, you need is a racket and a ball in order to get started but of course a court with a net is a prerequisite, and they are not common in all countries.…. and a more comprehensive list of tennis equipment is needed once you really get into it!

Tennis is one of the most popular sports in Europe, with a long history and tradition in countries such as Sweden.

Major Tennis Tournaments

Tennis has a professional tour for men, the ATP and for women, the WTA. The highlight of both tours are the 4 ‘Grand Slam’ tournaments that are each played once per year. These are;

  • The Australian Open – Melbourne

  • The French Open – Rolland Garros

  • The Championships – Wimbledon

  • The US Open – Flushing Meadow, New York City

Wimbledon attracts hundreds of thousands of people and massive attention from electronic, print and social media, and is considered the pinnacle of all tennis tournaments. Each Grand Slam is played on a different surface, providing a unique challenge to all players.

Rafa Nadal of Spain is known as the King of Clay, for his dominance at the French Open, having won a staggering 14 titles there.

Participation in Tennis Around the World

Around 87 million people play or participate in this sport.

In simple words, around 1.17% of the world’s population plays this incredible game. Millions of people watch tennis on television and online platforms.

Around 642,000 people played or participated in tennis twice a month in 2021.

Likewise, 345,000 students played tennis in high school during the Covid-19 pandemic (2020) in the United States. Overall, 22.62 million local and professional players participated in this sport in the US in 2021.


A more obscure version of the game was actually the original game of tennis, now known as Real Tennis, there are around 50 active courts in the world, of which the majority are in the UK.

The World’s Most Famous Tennis Players


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