The Top 10 Most Popular Sports in Europe
As far as sports go, no other continent has invented more of them than Europe has over the years. So, without further delay, let’s now get into the top ten list of the most popular sports in Europe that fans and players just can’t get enough of.
Football is, by far, the most popular sport in not just Europe, but pretty much the entire world. Every European country plays the beautiful game, and although Germany, England, Spain, France, and Italy are the biggest footballing nations both as nations and at club level, every footballing nation in Europe has its own clubs and fanbase to urge them on.
Tennis was and still is dominated by European players, although the entire world plays it. Australia and the United States are the only two other nations to ever boast of players who made it into the Hall of Fame, while almost everyone else is European. A few legends of the game worth mentioning are Roger Federer (Switzerland), Novak Djokovic (Monaco), John McEnroe (West Germany), and Rafael Nadal (Spain).
Rugby happens to be a surprisingly international sport that’s not as exclusive to Europe, as American football is to the US. Although they may seem similar, and there are similarities for sure, these are two different games with different rules. Rugby is played and watched by most European nations, but so far, the only European country to have ever won the World Cup is England, when it managed to beat the Australian national rugby team at the finals back in 2003.
Formula 1 Racing
A motorsport unlike any other, and the biggest racing genre in both the past and the present, Formula 1 is dominated by European drivers. After all, the legend himself, aka Michael Schumacher, is German, and the only person to come close in terms of success is the Englishman Lewis Hamilton. However, Juan Manuel Fangio from Argentina and Ayrton Senna from Brazil are legends in their own right as well, which actually makes South America a top place to find world-class F1 drivers.
Now, one may argue that boxing is more popular in the US than it is in Europe, and they may actually be right. However, in terms of popularity, boxing is the most-watched combat sports of all time, all the world over. There have been so many American fighters of the highest class in the heavyweight division over the decades such as Tyson, Joe Luis, and Ali to name a few, that its popularity in the US is well deserved.
Having said that, the Scottish, the Irish, and the English once did have a long legacy of boxing legends themselves, with fighters such as Jimmy Wilde, Jimmy McLarnin, and Benny Lynch being the most prominent of them. Although the current list of well-known world champion boxers from Europe is not that impressive in comparison with their international competition, boxing still remains one of the most-watched sports in Europe.
Do the British love cricket as much as they love football? Not even close! In spite of that, cricket is still the national sport of England, and quite a few other nations from Europe have also started playing the world’s second most-watched sport more seriously in recent times. From Germany and France to Scotland and Netherlands, cricket is growing in Europe too.
As far as combat sports is concerned, UFC outranks even boxing in popularity within the European continent during major events, in spite of being a comparatively recent entry, and that’s on account of two factors. First and foremost, the fact that sports fans can now watch live sports over the internet for as little as just 5 Euros per month, has helped boost the popularity of sports in general, and not just the UFC.
Secondly, unlike how it is with boxing, names such as Fedor Vladimirovich, Khabib, Conor McGregor, Filipovic, Bas Rutten and plenty of others are all famous names of the Octagon – and they are all Europeans. American fighters are quite dominant in MMA as a whole, but Ireland, Russia, and Ukraine are keeping the Europeans in the game today.
Setting aside the controversies surrounding Lance Armstrong, he neither was nor is, the only famous cyclist in the European circle. Although a large section of the world might be oblivious to names such as Tadej Pogacar, Adam Yates, and Pascal Ackermann, they are some of the most prominent names in the world of competitive cycling today. Cycling is particularly huge in France, Italy, Germany, England, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Golf is limited in its accessibility, and that’s how it will remain for the foreseeable future, due to the very design of the game itself. Nevertheless, the developed nations of Europe that do play golf have an affinity for it like no other. It’s once again a sport dominated by the American players, but European viewership of the PGA Tour went up pretty high this year when Tyrrell Hatton was about to win the Tour.
Football has a literal and practical contender in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway in particular, by the name of handball! A large number of nations outside the continent don’t really participate, but it’s pretty big in Europe since handball is played by most of the European nations (except the UK).
Europe will continue to produce great athletes, as it always has, and hopefully, we will see a few prominent European heavyweight boxers in the ring again sometime soon. In the meanwhile, golf is looking particularly promising, alongside MMA and of course, football.