James Howell once said, “All work and no PLAY makes Jack a dull boy.”
Wondering what the top sports in the U.S. is? While your choice of top sports in the U.S. might be different from another, it’s no secret that sports has always been an essential part of our lives since childhood. Not only it made us fit and healthy but inculcated in us the qualities of leadership, teamwork, challenging the failure and enjoying the win.
Sports in America is one of the factors that helps the nation to stand where it is today. The United States of America is a vast country with 50 states. In this country, sports play a very crucial role in its population of more than 300 million. A large number of its citizens be part of sports or they follow sports. It brings the country together. Presidents of America has always emphasized its people to inculcate themselves in physical activities.
The various sports played in the US includes baseball which is its national sport followed by football (known as American football outside the US), basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, volleyball, swimming and many more. The sports industry in America is of around $70 billion. Many American leagues and association are known worldwide for their sports activity. Many nation funds for the sports and the Olympics in the country but the U.S. government does not.
Students of high school and universities play an important role in American sporting culture. Track and field sports, baseball, basketball and football are mostly played by students. ‘New York Times’ the most famous newspaper in the country covers more pages for sports than for any other field.
The History of American Sports
Resembling at the history of sports in America, it shows that many of them emerged out of European customs. At the beginning of the19th century, horse racing was the foremost sport. It included people from all the classes either as masters, coaches, gamblers or spectators. The crowd of about 50,000 people was witnessed in New York during the first intersectional horse race between Sir Henry and Eclipse. However, since the 20th century, this sport is grappling to make its fame among advanced sports. It’s one reason that while it remains among the more popular sports in the U.S., it has remained largely stagnant.
In the 20th century, boxing attained its identity as a professional sport and represented the idea of ‘manpower’. It was in the early 20th century that women gave their attention towards sports and they even turned out to be very well. Many women coaches and executives helped them to gain the place in the manly world with the motto of playing with them and not against them. The 21st century can be acknowledged as an era of sports in the U.S.A.
The Top Sports in the U.S. That You Should not miss!
Not a much of sports liking person? Going to these sports in America will make you one.
The most popular sport in America is also known as “American Football” or “Gridiron” in the rest of the world. Today American Football leads the most spectators sport list. National Football League (NFL), is recorded to have the highest average participation amongst any sport. American Football is evolved from Rugby Football and Association Football (known as ‘soccer’). Walter Camp who was a football player, coach and sports writer is known as “The Father of American Football”.The origin of professional football is traced back to 1892.
With the highest number of participants from high school and college level, almost 70,000 college students and 1.1 million high school students play this game. Annually $520 million is spent on sports equipment and $358 on the football uniform.
National Organization– NFL (National Football League) has 32 teams out of which 16 play for NFC (National Football Conference) and other for AFC (American Football Conference). NFL generates annual revenue of around $10 billion.
World Famous Players – Peyton Manning (associated as “Most Valuable Player of NFL” for 5 times), Brett Favre (known for 186 wins and to win playoffs after turning 40), Coach Don Shula (won 6 super bowls), Drew Brees, J. J. Watt, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Carson Wentz, and Aaron Rodgers.
Event around the year– “SUPER BOWL“, is played in late summers. The champions of NFC and NFC compete for this after the 17 week season. It is the most watched television event.
Basketball, regarded as a team sport, ranks second among the famous sports in the U.S. College Basketball and NBA are the two things few Americans live for. Around 26 million Americans play basketball. It was invented back in 1891. In 1992 men’s basketball team won the gold medal.
The women’s national team has won 8 gold medals at the Olympics and 10 FIBA world cups. Basketball is famous in the country at both high school and college levels. Basketball has around 6.5 million women players. In 2010, almost twice the number of Americans played basketball (26.3 million) over baseball (14.5 million).
National Organization– National Basketball Association (NBA) is the third major professional league of America. It is noted to have the highest number of black players i.e. 74%. NBA contains 30 teams, 29 from America and 1 from Canada.
World Famous Players – Michael Jordan is the world-famous basketball player who has played 15 seasons in NBA and has scored more than 5,987 points in playoffs. Other notable players are Wilt Chamberlain (known for scoring 100 points in one game) LeBron James, Stephen Curry Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Durant.
Event around the Year– They play 82 games in a regular season from October to June after which 8 teams compete for Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
One of the sports developed in the 17th century, basketball is now regarded as ‘National Sport of America’ since the 19th century and is the most famous past time sport of Americans. Almost $324 million are spent on the baseball outfit and $488 on equipment. Teams of MLB plays 162 games each season. In 2015 MLB recorded to have 73 million spectators which are the highest number of audiences in any sports league in the world. ‘The NewYork Yankees‘ steal the heart of Americans whenever they are in the field.
National Organization– MLB (Major League Baseball) is a professional baseball organization which was endowed almost 116 years ago in 1903 and has as many as 30 teams. Interestingly, 29 of them are from the U.S. and one from Canada.
World famous players – Babe Ruth (known for 714 home runs), Joseph DiMaggio (known as ‘‘The Yankee Clipper’’ is famous for his 56 game hitting streak), Ty Cobb (an outfielder known as “a player fans loved to hate”), William Roger Clemens (a baseball southpaw nicknamed as “Rocket”), Mike Schmidt ( known for his 548 career home runs, 10 career Gold Gloves), Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra (18-time All-Star), Hank Aaron and Nolan Ryan.
Event around the year– “World Series”, is played during the month of autumn between American League and National League and the weaning team is awarded “Commissioner’s Trophy“. It is also referred to as “Fall Classic” and most titles are won by New York Yankees.
4. Ice Hockey
Ever wondered of being able to ice skate? Then you will definitely love this sport. The sport that sounds thrilling ‘Ice hockey’ is known as ‘hockey’ in America. It is more prominent in the colder region of the US. However, after 1990, it has become prevalent in other regions too. Minnesota is identified as the hockey capital of America.
With many of the best players of NHL being from Canada still it hugely popular in America. Around 2000 ice rinks are there in the U.S. This sport of great thrill is mostly played by White Americans. It is of no doubt that the United States is counted among the “Big Six”, the group of countries that have most wins in international ice hockey championship. In 2015, the National Women’s Hockey League was established.
National Organization – The NHL (National Hockey League) is the fourth major sports league and professional hockey league in North America. It has 31 teams with 24 from U.S. 7 from Canada.
World famous players– Sidney Crosby (famously known as ‘Sid the Kid’) has won a large number of international medals. Alexander Ovechkin (famously known as ‘Ovi’) is the Russian player and captain of Washington Capitals who has won 4 gold, 4 bronze and 4 silver medals in international championships.
Event around the year– All the teams of NHL compete for the ‘Stanley Cup’ which is the oldest trophy in the North American sport and is held in winters for almost two months.
Right from childhood, we have kicked a ball in the grass with the thought of playing for the county. It is impossible to forget this sport while making a list of the most popular sports in America. Soccer is indeed the number one sport in the world. With its recent rising fame, it is played by almost 24.4 million people over the U.S.
The FIFA World Cup has a prominent hand in making this sport famous among the youth. An amazing fact is that 60% of people that play soccer outdoors are under the age of 18. Outdoor soccer is the second most popular sport for kids under the age of 13.
National Organization– The United States Soccer Federation governs the worldwide soccer competition. Major League Soccer (MLS) is the Soccer League of America. It consists of 24 teams, 21 from U.S. and 3 from Canada. The popularity of David Beckham has helped MLS to grow vastly.
Championships– The U.S hosted the 1994 FIFA World cup and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It is expected to host the next in 2026. It a pride for the U.S. that Men’s National team has been qualified in every World Cup played while the Women’s National team won 3 Women’s world cup and four gold medals at Summer Olympics.
You may consider Tennis as the only popular racket sport in America, which can be played as singles or doubles. This sport has achieved a massive audience in the late 20th century. Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, and Pete Sampras are the sportspeople who helped this sport to gain popularity in recent years.
National Organizations – United States Tennis Association (USTA) and American Tennis Association (ATA) are the two governing bodies for the US court tennis.
World famous Players – Unlike other sports, the U.S. does not have many famous players in tennis in men’s event but in the women’s event the William sisters, Serena and Venus are known to perform extremely well. These names will be known by you even though you are not much of a tennis fan.
Championship – The US Open which is played in the month of August drives the spectators towards this sport. it is well-known for paying an equal amount of prize money to both men and women winners which is around 5.3 crores USD.
In the 19th century, it was just the mere sport of being in the ring for money where the spectators gambled on the results. But it gained its professional status in the early 20th century and America became the centre of professional boxing. This sport gained its popularity only after the ’60s. Television brought this sport a heart as it introduced it to a large number of an audience through broadcast on PPV channels whereas casino gambling raised the stake for the audience. This dangerous sport till day remains the famous sport of the U.S.
National Organization– The USA Boxing under the AIBA (Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur) looks after the Olympic style amateur boxing.
World Famous Players– Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman are the talented boxers of the U.S. who made this sport popular in the world. Charles Liston famously known as “jungle beast” or “gorilla” won 39 of the 54 fights. Jack Jonson was the first black boxer to win the heavyweight championship in the world. Muhammad Ali referred to as the greatest boxer in the world was god gifted with what he did in the ring.
Another top sport in the U.S., the modern game of sport is dated back in the 15th century. In the late 19th century the US caught the wind of this royal sport and they decided to espouse the golf craze. The Country Club, located in Brookline, Massachusetts, is among the oldest you will find in the country.
Golf, as a sport, requires a lot of your strength. Here is an interesting fact – half of the top golf players are Americans which makes people spend their Sundays looking at this sport.
National Organization – The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the United States’ national association of golf courses and clubs. It has about 10,000 club members and courses.
Championships – Out of the four major championships of men’s professional goal in world three of them are held in the U.S. – The Masters, the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship.
World Famous players– Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have made eye-popping achievements. Along with them, Harry Vardon (won 7 open championships), Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Walter Hagen (won 11 championships) are also well known.
9. Auto Racing
Zooommm!!! The sound that makes our ear stand. It is probably the most loved sound of American sports lovers. This sport is in existence since the day of the automobile invention. In the early days, Americans use the public street to organize automobile racing. This thrilling sport is counted in dangerous sports because of the accidents held. NASCAR once got an audience of around 20 million in 2006 but later it declined.
National organizations – The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is an American company well known for stock car racing. It consents around 1500 races at over 100 tracks in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
World Famous Racers– Jimmie Johnson (won driver of the year 5 times), Danica Patrick (only women to win IndyCar Series).
Championships – The three largest national auto racing series organized by NASCAR are the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the Xfinity Series, and the Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
Lacrosse is also regarded as the fastest game on the two feet, is not much popular in Asian countries but Americans play it with great enthusiasm. It is a very active game and requires a lot of strength. Originally, the game was played to strengthen the boys for war. In this sport, the players try to goal a lacrosse ball in the net with the help of a lacrosse stick. It is one of the fastest growing sport in America. Lacrosse participation is increased by a great number of 218.1 per cent over the last decade. The United States’ team has won 28 times in the World Lacrosse Championship.
National Organization – US Lacrosse is the national organization for both men’s and women’s lacrosse.
Championships – Major League Lacrosse(has 9 teams), National Lacrosse League (played in the month of Summer), United Women’s Lacrosse League (has four teams and is more famous than the other two leagues).
The list of the top sports in the U.S. doesn’t end here. Apart from these sports like volleyball, rugby, cricket, disc sports, track and field, combat sports, swimming etc are also played. The Americans have made a great contribution in sports both as spectators and participants. The American sports industry is just rising up and up in the graph.
You can spend your entire year watching sports played in America and still not get tired of it! Which is your favorite top sports in the U.S.?