American football has been the #1 sport in the United States for at least the past thirty years. We can talk not just about the popularity, but about the cult of American football in the United States.
Just like in basketball, College American football is very popular. Mostly, student teams are located in small towns or suburbs of megacities.
To help you understand the scope of College American football, let me give you an example of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, which plays in the city of Lincoln (a deep province with a suburban population of just over 300 thousand people). The local stadium “memorial stadium” currently holds 85 thousand spectators, and it is Packed to the brim for absolutely all home games of the Cornhuskers since 1962 (currently 368 consecutive sellouts). Just think about it: a quarter of the region’s population goes to the stadium (the remaining three-quarters watch games on TV or in bars)! This is not just a sport, but in fact as a religion for local residents! Such popularity is enjoyed by the vast majority of student teams. 8 stadiums of student teams can accommodate more than 100,000 spectators!
Basketball ranks 2nd in our ranking of the most popular sports in the United States and is gradually approaching the untouchable American football.
In America, both professional and College basketball is widely known. The best basketball players from the NCAA student League are later selected in the draft by professional NBA teams, which adds to the sport’s continuity and popularity (fans continue to follow the careers of their favorite student players when they move to professional NBA teams).
Speaking of the popularity of College basketball in the United States: the final of the annual championship “March Madness” in 2017 was watched by more than 20 million viewers and these numbers are growing every year.
The NBA is also experiencing its best years since Michael Jordan, thanks in large part to an incredibly talented generation of basketball players in the form of LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and others.
Baseball can be called the most American sport and in fact, baseball formed the culture of sports in America at the beginning of the 20th century. The first professional baseball team was formed back in 1869 in Cincinnati.
Baseball was the most popular sport in the United States for a century until about the mid-70s and early 80s. Since then, with the development of TV and broadcast matches, the popularity of baseball has declined. Baseball was at its peak in the radio era, because baseball games are more interesting to listen to on the radio than to watch on the TV screen. In the 80’s, the sports audience finally switched from baseball to American football.
What do we have today? Baseball is actually losing fans and viewers every day, already losing popularity to basketball. This season, the games of the final MLB series between the Boston Red SOx and the Los Angeles Dodgers were watched by an average of just 14.3 million viewers. In the past few years, the most attention to baseball has been focused on 2016, when the Chicago Cubs won the League title for the first time since 1908.