Why is Basketball So Popular?

Basketball has been around since 1891 when it was invented by Dr. James Naismith who worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The first basketball game took place on December 21st, 1891, between the MIT men’s team and the YMCA All Stars (a group made up of Boston College students.)

The popularity of this sport grew through the years as more people got involved with playing basketball.

In fact, according to statistics from 2017, there are over 30 million high school players and about 8 million college/university players across America alone.

That number continues to grow day after day.

There are several different types of basketball games that range from 2v2 all the way to 5-on-5 leagues.

Some of these sports involve professional athletes while others include amateurs just like you or me.

There are also indoor and outdoor versions of basketball.

Indoor ones take place inside whereas outdoor ones occur outside. Outdoor basketball involves running, jumping and other physical activities.

As one can see, basketball offers so much more than meets the eye.

Which naturally brings us to the main point of the article…

Basketball is so popular because the game is cost-effective to play due to the fact that outside of a ball and a hoop, no extra equipment is required. More so, the sport is fun and can be played virtually anywhere, together with being accessible to different genders and age groups.

Now, this article will cover six major reasons why basketball is such a popular sport among millions of fans today.

Reasons why basketball is popular around the world

Here they are…

1. It’s an affordable game to play

why basketball is so popular - affordable to play

One reason why basketball is so popular because it’s inexpensive to get started.

When compared with other similar sports, basketball costs less money to join.

 For example, football requires a monthly cost of $20-$40 per season depending upon which league you choose to be part of.

However, if you’re interested in joining a local American Football League, the price tag jumps to almost $200 per month!

Baseball may not require any monetary payments but you have to buy equipment separately.

At least, baseball doesn’t need any special permits to practice outdoors unlike most other sports where you’ll find yourself paying extra fees to use your own property.

Lastly, golf may only require some clothing and shoes but it still takes time away from work and family commitments to attend a weekly session.

That being said, basketball does offer low entry barriers making it easier to start participating in this exciting sport.

Just look at how affordable it is to purchase a ball ($15), a hoop ($25) and even a few baskets ($50 -$100)!

If you’ve ever played tennis, then you know what I’m talking about here.

Tennis balls aren’t cheap either and you must commit to purchasing them every couple of months.

Another drawback is that a lot of times you might need access to courts that belong to someone else especially during weekends and holidays.

2. Playable in a variety of places

why basketball is so popular - playable in different settings

Another reason why basketball is so popular because its wide availability makes it possible to enjoy this sport anywhere regardless of location, weather conditions, etc.

With this flexibility, you don’t have to worry about missing out on important practices due to inclement weather.

You can easily adjust schedules based on the current condition of the court(s) available.

And speaking of courts, basketball allows you to play on dedicated courts without having to compete against other users.

On top of that, basketball isn’t affected by bad weather or climate change.

Unlike soccer, basketball remains playable year-round.

Sure, it could rain or snow on specific days but basketball won’t stop until the final whistle blows.

3. Easy sport to learn

Most beginners tend to quit their attempts too soon despite enjoying themselves immensely.

They think it’s hard to master something new.

While it takes time to perfect things, learning how to dribble, pass and shoot effectively comes naturally once you give it enough attention.

Once you become familiar with these skills, you’d realize that basketball is actually pretty simple yet challenging at the same time.

Like anything worth achieving, practicing daily will help improve your performance significantly.

After getting used to doing drills properly, you should try shooting free throws, layups, jump shots, alley oops, spin moves, etc.

Not everyone is born with natural talent, but anyone can pick it up fast given enough dedication and patience.

Plus, it’s fun trying out new techniques and strategies.

4. Enjoyable to watch

why basketball is so popular - enjoyable to watch

Watching basketball is enjoyable and entertaining.


Because basketball combines three main elements together:

  • Speed;
  • Agility; and
  • Strength.

These attributes make the game exciting to watch whether you’re sitting down or standing up.

Watching NBA live streams online provides chances to experience real action right before your eyes.

Even better, you can catch your favorite teams whenever they happen to be playing each week.

As well, watching basketball gives you the chance to cheer on the home crowd no matter where they’re located.

Or maybe you want to support your favorite player by cheering him on via livestream.

Either way, basketball is definitely one of those sports that provide lots of entertainment value.

5. Appeals to both genders

why basketball is so popular - appeals to both genders

In addition to providing plenty of opportunity for women, basketball is equally good for men.

Men can show off their athletic abilities and prove their masculinity by competing against other guys.

Meanwhile, women can showcase their beauty and gracefulness through their great looks and stylish outfits.

Also, both sexes benefit from improving overall health.

People with sedentary lifestyles often suffer from obesity and diabetes.

Yet, sports like basketball can offset these problems.

By engaging in regular workouts, individuals would burn excess calories thus preventing weight gain.

Furthermore, basketball helps build muscle mass and tone muscles.

Overall, this type of exercise keeps us fit and healthy.

6. Accessible for many age groups

why basketball is so popular - accessible for different age groups

Lastly, basketball appeals to various age groups because it is suitable for children, teenagers, adults, senior citizens and even disabled folks.

Young kids can kick back and relax while their parents play alongside them.

Teenagers can spend time socializing with friends instead of hanging out in front of televisions.

Adults can keep active by going to nearby gyms or hiring personal trainers.

Seniors can stay engaged longer by taking classes in areas such as yoga, pilates or tai chi.

Regardless of your age, you can always do whatever works best for you.

No matter how old we get, our bodies never stop changing. We continue to grow older and wiser.

But as long as we keep moving forward every day, we remain young at heart.

So next time you feel bored, remember that basketball provides tons of opportunities to satisfy your needs.

Whether you prefer to participate in organized leagues or simply go solo, basketball is a sport worth exploring further.

What is the worldwide popularity of basketball?

Basketball is one of the world’s most popular sports, because the numbers back this up.

According to the data provided here, basketball has approximately 2.2 billion fans across the globe.

That puts basketball in third place behind soccer (3.5 billion fans) and cricket (2.5 billion fans) when it comes to popularity figures.

You might have a few doubts about the data, so here’s an image that shows the estimated sizes of global fanbases for each of the world’s most popular sports.

And just as we stated, basketball is in third place with an estimated 2.2 billion followers.

Where is basketball most popular and why?

Basketball is at its most popular in the United States of America, the country where the game was specifically invented.

Here’s a table which gives a good representation of its popularity in America when compared with the rest of the world.

RankingCountryRegional Popularity
1United States100
10New Zealand20
11Puerto Rico20
14Bosnia and Herzegovina16

Why is basketball so popular in America?

The reason is actually pretty simple.

Basketball has a huge following in the United States due to the existence of large competitive professional leagues such as the NBA, along with multiple collegiate leagues too.

When you see players like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry battle it out on the court with speed, skill and precision, it’s very easy to have your eyes glued to the screen and fall in love with the sport.


And it’s a wrap!

This article has covered exactly why basketball is so popular, as well as outlining its statistical appeal along with the exact countries where the sport receives substantial viewership figures.

Enjoyed the read?

Then go on a deeper rabbit hole by checking out our other articles on why basketball is so fun and what basketball can teach players and viewers.

About Samuel Waihenya

Samuel is an avid fan of basketball and has been following the sport for over 10 years. He now intends to dedicate his time to produce great content for his own little basketball blog that aims to help its readership with whatever basketball-related topic they can think of. Have a read through Samuel Waihenya's author bio page here.