Honestly, playing slots or table games is exciting enough to be considered a sporting event in its own right. But while playing at an online casino continues to grow in popularity almost daily, it still hasn’t reached the fever-pitched craze of certain physical sports. As well as being great to watch and play, supporting teams and athletes really brings people together and fosters a sense of community. So which are the sporting ties that bind the tightest?
Also known as Association Football, Soccer is easily the world’s favourite sport. In fact, global estimates suggest that half of the population are fans and supporters. No less than 4 billion people say they follow Soccer teams and competitions, and its players are worldwide superstars.
Early versions of the game are believed to have been played in China as early as the 2nd century, and ancient Greece, Rome and Japan probably also took part. The contemporary version was first seen in England, and spread from there. Today you’ll find leagues all over Europe, Africa, Asia and both North and South America.
The gentleman’s game of Cricket is second only to Soccer in terms of its global reach and popularity, with 2.5 billion people saying they are fans. Most support comes from Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom, although the South African team and fan contingent are both very impressive. Cricket takes a huge amount of skill and athleticism, and is a joy to watch and play. First introduced to 16th-century England, it was declared a national sport in that country during the 1900s.
3. Field Hockey
Field Hockey’s estimated global fanbase stands at the 2 billion mark, with huge numbers of followers in Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe. This is another sport that has its contemporary roots in England, where it was first played in the 19th century.
While Field Hockey players use sticks to drive a ball and Soccer players use their feet, the games have a lot of similar rules and principles. Given how popular Soccer is, then, it stands to reason that Field Hockey would be too!
4. Table Tennis
Table Tennis is also often referred to as Ping Pong, and its inclusion in a list of the world’s 6 most popular sports might surprise you. But make no mistake, the discipline is physically demanding for players and games are riveting to watch. This miniaturised version of Lawn Tennis, introduced to Britain in the 1800s, has most of its 850 million fans in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Tennis’s 1 billion European, American and Asian fans can’t be wrong, and we’re here to assure you that they are not. Although not as widespread in Australia, the sport is also very popular in that country and one of the 4 Grand Slams is even hosted there. This is one of the oldest athletic disciplines that we know of, and is believed to have been played by Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. The modern version first gained hold in France, before spreading to Europe and the rest of the world.
Invented by US sports instructor William G. Morgan in 1895, Volleyball combines elements of Handball, Basketball, Tennis and Baseball. Today it has around 900 million supporters, primarily in Western Europe and North America but also in Asia and Australia.
England’s Enduring Contribution
With the exception of Volleyball and Tennis, all the sports we’ve listed can trace their roots back to England. As Britain became a major colonising force, its homegrown games took firm hold in several of its colonies. Many of the best athletes in the world come from these regions, and their teams routinely defeat England – literally beating the country at its own game! The undeniable challenges that colonisation created are still strongly felt, but the sporting legacies also remain and endure as a force for good.