What’s more popular, NBA or the NFL?

NBA Steve O Speak

Well, looking at the current trend one may say that basketball is more popular than football. A lot of speculations have their reasons as well as arguments, as supporters of the different arms will always come out to support their sport.

Even though basketball has its mainstay in the United States, it appears to be a more popular sport in the world at large when compared to the American Football that’s only played in a few countries in the world. Most people often confuse the NFL to FIFA football and really they are two different games with different rules. 

In this article, we are comparing the popularity of basketball to American Football.

Football is mostly played in less than 10 countries in the world while basketball is played all over the world, which makes its fan base and popularity around the world much less when compared to world basketball. Although there are speculations that football might surpass basketball in the future, these speculations are yet to be true.

Reasons why the NBA seems to be more popular than the NFL.


The level of suspense in the NBA is far more than that of the NFL, as such, it increases the interest rate of people, as people would want to know how a particular NBA match ends, if their team will eventually win the match or not. This slowly creates a level of interest which slowly turns into an addiction in the fans.

Big Game Atmosphere

A big play will always get a strong reaction, and this reaction increases the fan base of every event. While a typical NBA basketball game is played in a small court and probably a few thousands of people present to watch, the truth is, there are millions more watching that same game all over the world. The NFL might have a bigger stage of play with plenty of people in the stadium, but the fan base watching all over the world is nothing compared to the NBA basketball games. The big game atmosphere here is a collective viewership of people in the stadium and people all around the world. In all honesty, the NFL has not been able to command the kind of fan base NBA has enjoyed over the years.

Money to be made

In both NBA and NFL, there are tons of money to be made with various bookmakers offering juicy odds and betting bonuses. This is mainly one of the reasons why a lot of aspiring athletes for both sports begin honing their skills while in high school or college. Professional players easily become millionaires easily if they get drafted to play in any leagues, so who can blame them. This year’s NCAA men’s basketball championship is getting particularly interesting with none of the top three seeded teams looking like having a chance of making it into the final four. It is no surprise that people are always on the lookout for the latest NCAA betting odds. This is because in both there is so much money to be made by gamblers and betting companies. 

Art of Gaming

The way the NBA basketball games are played causes a lot of anxiety amongst its watchers. In situations where a player takes the ball, approaching the opponent’s half, dribbling past to aim for the net for a three-pointer, the whole audience is at a standstill, there is a level of tension and excitement, all of a sudden the ball is blocked by some big man and this crashes people’s hopes, and as such, it increases the interest of people. But in the NFL, there is a kind of difference at the level of excitement is not as compared to gameplay in the NBA.

Instant Game Change

The NBA is structured such that it creates a level of hope in the audience, as fans of the losing team believe that the game can turn around in an instant. And this is very possible as the match, sometimes turns in favor of the losing team. Ever watched a match and a particular team is making an impact, scoring the most and all of a sudden, in a minute, there is a turnaround and the losing team takes over the match? This level of hope and excitement causes people to fan the NBA more. There is simply room for a turn-around in an instant. There have been many cases where the winning team won by one point which came by the last shot before the bell rang.


The number of NBA fans is large, and as such the hope a fan has for their team, creates a relationship amongst the fans. For instance, a Lakers fan can easily interact with another Lakers fan in a country he just stepped into. This is what the NBA has been able to create; it has been able to give its fans an easy way of communicating even when they don’t know each other. Because the NFL is not that popular, there is no guarantee that you will find a fellow fan in the next country you are traveling to. So you might have to keep your game to yourself till you are back in your country where the NFL is played.

Big Names

The number of superstars in the NBA is quite higher than that of the NFL. This is so because the game is more popular anyway. There are stars in every position all over the world. The NBA is a game of All-Stars. There is always a new kid stepping into the spotlight, gaining new fans and becoming the hope of new kids aspiring to be great in the game. A full NFL team, on the other hand, can be at play and only two superstars on the pitch are known in other parts of the world. They may be popular in countries where the NFL is played, but definitely not elsewhere. People will always want to watch superstars play not only because they play well, but because they offer upcoming players and kids in the streets hoping that they can become great too.

Surprises and Unpredictability

The NBA, is a land of surprises, as it is hard to predict, even the strong lose to the weak, and the best of the rest. But in the NFL, it is quite easy to predict a match, judging from the stars on the pitch and also the teams involved. This level of predictability creates a desire in people to predict the turnout of matches, which most times don’t work out well. And they keep predicting, and gradually getting addicted to the game of football rather than the NBA. This is what gave rise to sport betting.


NBA is definitely more popular than the NFL. The reasons are all obvious and we see the signs everywhere. Please do not take this personally if you are an NFL fan, we love NFL too, but when the chips are down, we can readily tell that the world speaks the language of basketball more than football.



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