• Graphic: football in the sheets, basketball in the streets


Three out of four Americans who actively follow the sport are football fans and cheer on their teams from their couch, stadium seat or bar stool. As data from our Statista Global Consumer Survey shows, this fascination with the world’s most lucrative sports league doesn’t extend beyond the reach of subscriptions or the TV remote control for most respondents.

When people who exercise or actively participate in sports were asked what sports activity they do at least occasionally, only 22% said American football. Overall, sport ranks eighth on this particular question, with hiking and fitness, with aerobics and cardio coming in first and second at 38 and 35 percent, respectively. Basketball, on the other hand, ranks fourth with 26% actively participating in the sport.

It also succeeded in edging baseball out of second place in passive involvement. While only half of all respondents said they follow “America’s favorite pastime”, 56% said they are actively interested in basketball and the NBA, including stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James or Kevin Durant made the league around $9 billion in 2018-19. season.

The NHL, currently in its first round of the playoffs and arguably more popular with Canadians than Americans, is followed by only 22% of people who consider themselves fans of leagues or teams sports.

Collectively, America’s big four leagues NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL grossed an estimated $40 billion in their seasons ending in 2019, earning them four out of five spots in the top-grossing league rankings. raised in the world. The only non-American league in the top 5 is the English Premier League, which grossed around €6 billion in 2019.


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