There’s no question that sports are part of the national fabric of the United States. From baseball (the so-called “America’s Pastime”) to a burgeoning soccer fan base, it seems there’s a sport for everyone to call their own. Two specific sports, football and basketball, are among the most popular games being played and bet on around the country today. Let’s take a look at which sport comes out on top.
Basketball’s Popularity in the United States
While basketball is steadily rising in the international market, going so far as to rank No. 1 in countries such as Latvia, The Philippines, and Lithuania, its popularity in the United States has been steady for quite some time. Big-name players such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson brought the sport to the front of America’s collective mind while playing on the “Dream Team” at the 1992 Olympics. In the past 25 years, the sport has only become more popular. In fact, it boasts an economic advantage over the NFL — fewer players means paying fewer salaries, creating a higher profit margin.
Football’s Popularity in the United States
American football is a huge market in the States; just look at the annual Super Bowl, and you’ll see how popular this game truly is. While there have been some doomsday predictions lately about the football bubble being burst, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. ESPN dedicates about four hours a day to broadcasting NFL programming, and many fans have gone so far as to admit that they are “addicted” to the rush of the sport. Football is quickly becoming a worldwide sport despite its very American beginnings, with 80 countries boasting an American football federation.
Which Sport Do More People Prefer?
While countless fans watch and gamble on both sports, the numbers show a rather clear winner. In ESPN’s Harris Poll, conducted just three years ago, 35 percent of adult fans said American football was their favorite sport. A close runner-up was baseball, with basketball ranking fifth (behind baseball, college football and auto racing). So, while both basketball and football are loved by fans nationwide, it’s easy to say that football comes out on top.