Biggest spectator sports in USA?

What are the biggest specator sports in the USA?

I am guessing the top 3 (in no particular order) are baseball, football and basketball. What are 4th and 5th?

I am guessing Ice Hockey is 4th… anyone?

I think in sheer attendance numbers, NASCAR racing beats 'em all, and possibly beats 'em all combined. That’s because one single NASCAR event might seat 250,000 spectators; you’re lucky to cram 50,000 into a baseball stadium.

Also, the definition of “most popular” can be quite subjective. If you mean “butts in the seats,” NASCAR wins hands down. If you mean “butts in the seats + television ratings,” the smart money’s on baseball. If you mean “television ratings,” it’s probably a dead heat between football and wrestling (I know, wrestling isn’t a sport). But if you mean “number of people who claim it’s their favorite sport,” I’m going with baseball.

My $.02

…do you mean the sport viewed by the most people, period? Including TV, radio listeners, and so on? Or do you mean the most people that actually show up at the event, you know, butts in seats? Or maybe the sport that grosses the most cash?

Also, are you clumping professional sports with college level games?

Heh, it’s kind of a loaded question.

For example, more people may watch a NFL game at one time, because there are fewer games. The MLB and NBA have many games during the week, so the total number of people seeing games may be a lot higher, but per game, the numbers would be a lot lower.

Besides, NASCAR may be in 1st place. No, I am unfortunately not kidding. Don’t forget about professional wrestling either (you did say “spectator sports”).

Great, beat out by 2 minutes.

I feel so redundant.

At this time of year there can only be one. Clue: they’re wearing short skirts and skimpy everything else.

(Memo to self: Got to stop driving and looking)

If the criterion is total attendance in a season I don’t think any sport has baseball beat. Here is a report that states that total attendance for MLB in 1996 topped 60 million.

I don’t buy that about NASCAR being the most popular sport. While there may be 200,000 people attending a single NASCAR event on a single day, at Daytona say, for baseball at that same time there will be 40,000 attending the game in Cleveland, 40,000 in Baltimore, 33,000 in Boston, 5,000 in Montreal, 34,000 in Chicago, 45,000 in Atlanta, 25,000 in Philadelphia, 3,000 in Toledo, etc. And baseball takes place every day during the summer in numerous cities, as opposed to NASCAR races which occur only on weekends in one locale at a time.

The same thing goes for TV ratings. A NASCAR race may be rated higher than the local baseball game, but the sum of the viewers for all the local baseball games throughout the country will be much higher than the rating just for the car race.

Horseracing, believe it or not, may top the list.

It may not be true today, but as few as about ten years ago the horseracing industry touted (pun intended) itself as the largest professional spectator sport in the U.S.; of course it was a dubious claim given that they would count essentially the same regulars over and over each day. But hey, do other sports subtract repeaters? I don’t think so. So in a strict accounting horseracing may head the list or at least come close to the top.

Baseball also gets a significant attendance boost from the presence of its minor leagues, which draw pretty well now.

However, all of Major League Baseball outdraws NASCAR.

As for television ratings, pro football and pro wrestling do the best, although I believe figure skating pulls very good numbers during the winter.

For spectator sports, harness racing was #1 for a long time, and may still be. There were just many more venues, running more dates, than any other sport. Average attendance was lower, but when you run 200+ days a year, you don’t need high attendance to be #1.

But auto racing in general is the most popular spectator sport in the USA.
They said so on tv, so it has to be true.

According to figures in the 1999 Statistical Abstract of the United States: in 1997, Major League Baseball had a total attendance of about 65 million spectators. Horse racing (thoroughbred, harness, and quarter horses) was second at 41 million.
(In 1985, horse racing was way ahead at around 70 million spectators.)

There were no figures for NASCAR however in the book.

College football was third and men’s college basketball was fourth.

Upon further checking, the magazine “Amusement Business” reported that NASCAR’s Winston Cup series drew a total of 6.5 million fans in 1999.

NASCAR likes to bill itself as the “fastest-growing” spectator sport. In 1990, the comparable attendance was only 3.3 million.

In terms of total revenues, NASCAR is still fifth among spectator sports behind NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL for 1999. However, projections have NASCAR taking over the #3 spot by 2006 and MLB passing up the NBA by then also.