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Nielsen Sports Japan Releases Report Ranking the Popularity of 17 Sports in 21 Countries

2 minute read | February 2024

Tokyo, February 19, 2023 Nielsen Sports Japan today released a sports marketing report based on the Nielsen Fan Insight, an independent survey of sports fans. The report presents rankings of the world’s most popular sports by segment, including all citizens, Generation Z, people in their 60s, and women.

The report is the result of Nielsen Sport surveys conducted in more than 20 regions around the globe, looking at trends between 2020 to 2023, including the impact of Covid.

It gives brands, rights holders, agencies, and sports marketers the detailed insights they need to design, refine and increase the success of strategies and campaigns.


The latest survey results show that while soccer and basketball are popular in all segments on a global scale, the third place and below vary somewhat from segment to segment, and some regional characteristics can be glimpsed.

  • Soccer and basketball lead all sports

On a global basis, soccer and basketball are the top 2 and most popular sports for men and women of all ages. Soccer is the most popular in 13 of the 21 countries, and the most or second most popular in 17 countries.

  • Individual sports are popular among Generation Z and women

In the Generation Z and female segments, individual sports such as track and field, swimming, cycling, and tennis rank in the top three behind soccer and basketball.

  • Regional characteristics differ from the global situation – Japan, India, and some Southeast Asia

Baseball, the most popular sport in Japan, is slightly more popular among people in their 60s globally, but is ranked 14th out of 17 sports worldwide. Similarly, cricket, the most popular sport in India, ranks 17th out of 17 sports worldwide, indicating that it is a sport with strong regional characteristics. Volleyball is popular not only in Brazil but also in Southeast Asia, where it is the second most popular sport in the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Badminton is the most popular in China, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and also in the top five in the Philippines, Thailand, India, and Vietnam.

Please contact us for more information about the report

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