In our world today, there are more than 8000 sports with different rules. Yet with all of these sporting activities taking place all over the world, soccer seems to have carved a niche for itself at the top.
According to FIFA, soccer officially began in England in 1863. However, before soccer was created, people have participated in several other sporting activities such as boxing, running, and many others. Somehow soccer has not only survived this long but has managed to surpass them all.
So why is soccer popular? There are several reasons why people developed a unique interest in soccer games more than other sporting activities.
In this article, we shall delve into some of the top reasons why soccer has remained popular even until this moment.
- Why is soccer so popular?
- Is soccer the #1 most popular sport in the world?
Why is soccer so popular?
Unlike other popular games, soccer has won the heart of many sports lovers to top the list of the most popular games in the world right now. No matter the corner of the earth you migrate to, you must surely hear people talking about the soccer game. Soccer has found a way to reach the farthest of places in the world.
The FIFA World Cup held in Russia in 2018, had over 4 billion people viewing the games. To put this in perspective, the world’s population at that time was estimated at 7+ billion people! This implies that more than half of the world’s population watched at least one of the tournament’s games.
It seems crazy to imagine how a sport can affect the lives of billions of people, unifying them together at every given time. What’s even crazier? The sport was able to put an end to a 3-year civil war in Ivory Coast.
Following the nation’s first time qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in October of 2005, with a 3-1 away win against Sudan, the Ivory Coast teammates invited the media into their dressing room to address their nation. With Didier Drogba as the spokesman and all team members on their knees, Drogba would plead for a ceasefire between the government and the opposing forces.
Like a script from a movie, these Ivorian soccer players were able to cause a ceasefire between both parties. Proving that soccer has grown beyond the spheres of just being a sport but as a universal ambassador for world peace.
Here are a couple of reasons why the sport has continued to grow in popularity.
Soccer is simple and easy to play
Unlike most sporting activities, soccer’s simplicity cannot be overlooked. You cannot compare soccer’s easiness with the rules of some other complex games.
Most people developed a unique interest in the game because of its simple rules and style of play. You can refer to soccer as one of the simplest sports in the world. Even as a first-time viewer of the sport, it takes only a matter of minutes and a basic explanation to get a hang of it.
For example, if you watch a soccer competition between two teams for the first time, you don’t need a coach to tell you that both teams intend to kick the ball into the goalpost. The players’ effort to get the ball into the opponent’s goal post quickly explains the concept of the game in a few seconds.
Still not convinced? Can you remember how you learned the game of soccer? For many, it was basically by watching others play or participating in the sports gameplay. For most of us, the rules were never studied or excruciatingly explained before we understood the basic concept.
Important rules like a penalty, freekick, offsides, when cards are awarded, etc. were never studied or painfully understood.
We have 3-year olds participating in the game with so much ease and can enjoy and have fun with it. There are not many sports out there that kids that young can actively participate in.
Soccer is inexpensive
Soccer is a cheap sport to play. You don’t need thousands of dollars to enjoy the soccer sport. Yes, it is a multi-billion dollar sport that costs lots of money to play competitively but at the heart of it, it costs less to get the equipment and kits to organize the game at your convenience.
Once you purchase your basic kits like a jersey, cleats, and a ball, you can play and enjoy the game. Its inexpensive rate has made soccer sports more popular than others. Sometimes, makeshift balls are used, locally, to play the game.
People have developed local ways to create what serves as soccer balls, just to enjoy the game. It’s important to state here that it is not always safe to use these makeshift balls, as they can cause injury to the foot.
Soccer balls, on their own, are not expensive. They are available at any sports shop for as little as possible. You would not have to break the bank to get a good quality soccer ball.
Weather is never a barrier
In some sports, a change in change can affect the gameplay negatively. When it comes to soccer, the weather has never been a barrier. Yes, extreme weather can affect the game but not necessarily the gameplay itself but because extreme weather is not suitable for humans.
During rainy weather, gameplay can still commence as long as visibility is not affected. Standard soccer fields are designed to allow for efficient water drainage to prevent the difficulty of ball movement from an otherwise waterlogged pitch.
The same is applicable during snowfall. As long as the pitch is not entirely covered with thick snow and ball movement is not affected, gameplay can continue.
Players are often well kitted for plays when there’s snowfall. However, major tournament competitions do not set their calendars in winter because of the human factor.
With the ever-growing love of the sport, countries like the USA and Canada had to create an indoor variant of the game to ensure gameplay can continue even during the winter months.
This soccer type is popularly known as Indoor soccer. This allows for an all-year play of the game without weather interruption. Other countries make do with a combination of both indoor and outdoor fields, depending on the prevailing weather condition at the time.
Locally, soccer fans and players organize gameplay irrespective of the weather. If the weather is suitable for humans to play under, best believe the game is on! Competitive soccer, on the other hand, will halt and postpone play to avoid bias to any of the playing teams.
This dedication to the sport, irrespective of the weather condition is one of the reasons the sport has survived this long.
If you think players are the only ones to brave the weather to participate in the sport, then you probably have never met soccer-loving fans – these people will go out in any weather to watch their favorite team play!
Soccer is internationally played
In the world today, soccer is one of the few tournaments played internationally. Some sporting activities are only played in a particular region.
Unlike these sports, soccer is played in every part of the world. Currently, FIFA has about 211 member countries.
These FIFA members are grouped into six regions. These include the AFC, CONCACAF, OFC, UEFA, CAF, and CONMEBOL. With this, every continent has the opportunity of qualifying to participate in its topmost competition – the FIFA World Cup.
Since soccer is played as a global sport, it has gained more popularity over time. FIFA often organizes the World Cup as a way to unite the countries of the world together.
The country that wins the world cup tournament is declared “World Champions.” The World Cup competition is a tournament in which any country could emerge as the winner. This makes it even exciting to compete because countries that may not be economically well-off now have a chance at being the best in the world.
Fans from all over the world come out in their numbers to support their countries. Although the UEFA Champions League and other top leagues like the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, etc. are also internationally recognized, the World Cup garners more viewership because it involves nations.
The FIFA World Cup is the only sports competition in the world where fans will support another nation when they do not qualify or have been knocked out of the competition.
Soccer can be played anywhere and for everyone
Soccer is a game that does not select locations. All you need to enjoy your soccer game is a spacious environment that allows for running and movement.
Since a standard soccer game is an outdoor game, it offers a greater advantage over other sporting activities. Despite being an outdoor game, soccer sports can still be played indoors.
This implies that soccer games can be played anywhere. All you need to participate in the sport of soccer is a ball, space, and a safe environment.
You can play soccer in your neighborhood, street, or anywhere you find yourself. Since people can conveniently play soccer anywhere, they developed a special interest in the game.
You don’t need a standard soccer pitch to enjoy the game. You can easily play the game with your friends and still derive the same fun as playing on a standard pitch.
The game also caters to people with disabilities. This goes to show that the love and passion for the game transcend far beyond race, ethnicity, abilities or lack of it, and borders.
As an internationally recognized sport, it can bring together people who would not naturally agree on things, to stay glued to the game.
It is a sport that does not discriminate against people and brings together people from all walks of life. A particular example of this was the San Marino Euro 2016 team which was made up of players who also have full-time jobs.
The players had jobs that included a professional soccer player, accountant, clothes shop manager, lighting business owner, lawyer, ceramic shop worker, student, factory worker, office clerk, furniture shop worker, and a youth soccer coach. These men were brought together by the power of soccer to play at the biggest tournament in their continent!
Soccer is a flexible sport
Unlike most sports, soccer offers tons of options to all players. Since it is a versatile game, people of all ages have developed a unique interest in the game.
Soccer offers enough flexibility to players. Younger players can play in 5 vs 5 indoor courts or on the beach as beach soccer.
As they grow, they can advance to a 7 vs 7 turf field or a 9 vs 9 field. However, 11 vs 11 soccer pitch is the standard field for professional players.
To accommodate all types of soccer, FIFA has organized official tournaments for each of them. Some of these tournaments planned out by FIFA consist of Indoor Soccer, or Futsal World Cup which comes as a 5 vs 5 tournament.
FIFA World Cup comes as the official mens’ and womens’ 11 vs 11 competition while the Beach Soccer World Cup comes as a 5 vs 5 soccer competition played on sand.
Want to still play the sport at home for fun? There’s a variation popularly referred to as street soccer and another, freestyle soccer. The sport caters to all and accommodates several variations. Soccer is indeed a flexible game for everyone.
Every Player has a chance
In soccer, every player has an almost equal opportunity to appear in the spotlight. Therefore, a Soccer sport isn’t a game where only a few players occupy the spotlight forever.
Every member of the team has access to the spotlight including goalkeepers. However, in some other games, not everyone has the opportunity to reach the spotlight.
A closer look at the history of the sport will reveal there have been notable names from all positions of play. One would think strikers and midfielders take the shine too often but recognition is given to defenders and goalies too.
Your primary aim should always focus on improving your basic skills to reach your maximum potential. As a result of this unique attribute, everyone loves the game of soccer.
Soccer has a longer history
Although soccer is not the oldest game, it is still a sport with a long history. According to FIFA, the sport is officially recognized to have started in the 19th century. In reality, it is only the modified rules and structure of the sport that was created at that time.
Records have been found that have traced the history of the sport to ancient China, more than 2000 years ago. The rule may have been different but the idea remains the same. There are also reports of its history originating from South America, Rome, and even Greece.
England still lays claim to the structure and rules of the transitioned game as we know it today. Irrespective of its debate history, the sport has survived many centuries and maybe millennia, to be what it is today.
Until this day, soccer is seen as one of the oldest sports in history that have gained more popularity over time. As a result of its unique history, many people have come to love the game of soccer. It is a game that has come to stay.
When it comes to soccer, people share different opinions about clubs and players and would go the extra mile to convince others to agree with them. Like all major sports, soccer thrives in the thrill of competition.
It is human nature to want to identify with things and have a sense of belonging. Understandably, fans of the sport would naturally support their national team. Yet, the sport has revealed that fans can push the limits in support of their clubs.
Soccer as a sport has grown into a community-based activity that unites and can divide relationships. The top leagues in the world have some of the most healthy and bizarre competition between fans and supporters.
The Premier League as the most-watched league in the world naturally has certain clubs pitted against each other in healthy rivalry.
What creates a good rivalry between clubs? Three main factors tend to stand out: the location of both teams, the history between the teams, and the quality of play.
Good examples of healthy club rivalries are, El Clàsico of Spain between Real Madrid and Barcelona, Derby Della Madonnina of Italy between AC Milan and Inter Milan, the England Derby between Liverpool and Manchester United, and the Manchester Derby between Manchester City and Manchester United.
Others include Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Inter Milan, Der Klassiker between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, the North London Derby between Tottenham and Arsenal, and the El Derbi Madrileño between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.
Fans will always continue to promote soccer sports without even realizing it. If you walk into a gathering of fans of any of these rival clubs, you will be amazed to notice the level of dedication each has to their team.
Most competitions between teams are planned to be as entertaining as possible. The level of entertainment that comes with soccer games is one of the primary reasons why the game is highly competitive.
Soccer is one of the most viewed sports events in the 21st century. Therefore, every big brand in the world wants to associate its brand with the sport.
Since it’s a massive way to bring billions of people together, brands feel more connected to their targeted audience when they advertise their business through soccer. Brand advertisements have helped to make soccer sports more popular in recent times.
For example, Coca-Cola signed an official partnership deal with the FIFA World Cup in 1978 and has lasted for many years after. Coca-Cola has its popularity but by partnering with the most-watched sporting event on the continent, it’s no wonder there’s hardly anyone connected to the digitalized world that doesn’t know the brand. In the same way, they have been a huge financial support to the growth of the sport.
Recently, clubs have been receiving millions of dollars from sponsors globally. According to Forbes, Barcelona received about 233 million dollars from their massive sponsorship program while Real Madrid received about 210 million. All of this pales in comparison to what the sport has received in sponsorship deals all over the world.
As a result of all these sponsorships from brands, soccer advertisements could be seen in almost every public place you visit.
Without the fans, soccer would not have reached the farthest part of the world. From time to time, soccer fans have continued to promote the game of soccer.
They preach the message of soccer and ensure it moves across the earth like a wildfire. Although it is more popular in some continents than in others, during major tournaments, it’s almost impossible to walk around a single day without hearing someone talking about the sport.
Passionate fans have continued to increase in number. Some fans have become so passionate about a soccer game that they appear inseparable from the sport. Their passion and dedication are one of the numerous reasons why soccer has become so popular all over the world.
Is soccer the #1 most popular sport in the world?
Yes, it is! Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Unlike other sports, soccer has tons of attributes that make it the best sport in the world.
Soccer is seen as the most popular sport in the world because of these two main reasons:
1. Largest fan base
Ranked on the top of the list, Soccer has the largest fan base. According to several sources, the soccer fan base globally is estimated to be more than 3.5 billion.
The regions where soccer sports have a massive fan base include America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. With the massive support received by the sport from fans, it has successfully climbed up to become the most valued sport in the world. It almost doubled the fan base of its runner-up, Cricket.
2. Players’ participation
There are over 250 million people actively participating in the sport. This massive number of active players has made the sport the most popular game in history.
Soccer as a sport has created an opportunity for over 250 million people to entertain the rest of the world. This large number has shown how people from all regions, races, and countries value the game of soccer.
Soccer has climbed the scale to become the most popular sport in history. Many people developed a unique interest in participating actively in the sport.
Many people have been wondering what makes soccer so famous. The sport has some of its fans who go to any extent to prove their love for sports.
The popularity of the sport will continue to accelerate instead of decline – soccer is a game that has come to stay. The love for the game will never die off in centuries to come.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!