Will Basketball Overtake Soccer in Popularity?

30 November 2021

Basketball overtaking soccer in terms of popularity may seem like a difficult question to answer. But recent data shows otherwise. NBA merchandise has been gaining popularity in many regions of the world.

Moreover, basketball has become the second most loved game in certain countries including India. While soccer is a global phenomenon, basketball is getting closer to it in every possible way it can. In addition, basketball has witnessed immense growth outside America after the 1980s.

Most third-world countries will be economically sufficient in the future and they can invest more in basketball. That way, there is a chance that basketball might overtake soccer in popularity.

Can basketball become the most popular game surpassing soccer?

Globalization continues to impact the world to a great extent. Several customs and cultures that were once an integral part of America have witnessed a decline in recent times. This decrease means certain cultural aspects get dispersed throughout the world. There is no question that sports unite nations.

And, a decline means that people get influenced by culture which is in contrast to remaining at the forefront. No other sport other than soccer captures patriotism and this explains the level of popularity it has achieved. What soccer brings along with it is bigger than the game itself.

Moreover, the ferocity of the game can’t be overlooked. Also, politics and sports have a deep connection. NBA has made concerted efforts to reach out to fans worldwide. Hence, as a global brand that has supporters in various nations, expansion is sure to happen.

Several efforts such as NBA Africa and brands like Nike are trotting their stars on international tours, which helps in furthering the sport. With the expansion of the game, certain elements contribute to bringing a dynamic style of playing. In 2016, around half of the NBA’s draft picks were players who were born outside America.

As global players continue to emerge, a new style of play will follow them. Apart from America’s dominance over the game, countries like Canada and Australia have produced younger NBA talents. This kind of impact on the overall game is apparent.

Soccer holds the top position of being the most beloved game worldwide without showing any signs of slowing down. A part of what makes soccer compelling is the result of passion from the federations they belong to and its fans. Internationally, FIFA competitions are regarded as much more than club competitions.

Globalization is a force that is shaping the world, from diplomacy and trade to culture. At the beginning of the World Cup qualifying rounds, you can find out a visible difference in the intensity levels of soccer fans. The way they consume club competitions is different from the pride they feel while watching their country compete.

Basketball can overtake soccer in popularity and become the most loved game. The game is easy to follow for casual fans and is economical to play as well. While basketball is new, as more nations start embracing it, the cultural influence will have a long-lasting impact worldwide similar to soccer.

Reasons why basketball might overtake soccer in popularity:

1. If the heading gets banned

This reason could sound insane but heading into soccer is such a feat that hundreds and thousands of fans love to watch this game. Hence, if soccer bans heading, there is a strong possibility that basketball might become the most popular sport around the world.

However, the chances of banning seem a distant call as of now. But as the world learns more about concussions, what appears impossible might come true instantly. Many people have become hesitant to enjoy soccer because of this reason. And, this might eventually follow up with soccer in the same way as it did with American Football. Soccer must adapt to these changes or get diminished.

2. Economic development in many countries

Another great reason why basketball might take over soccer as a global event is because of the rise in developing countries. In the future, most third-world countries will become economically strong. It means they will have the necessary infrastructure to enjoy a standard of living like that of the first world countries.

As a result, they will be drawn more towards interesting and modern sports that many first-world nations enjoy today. Also, they will be attracted to other expensive kinds of games as well. And, they will invest more in such sports and produce talented players them.

3. Basketball is gaining popularity around the world

There is no denying that basketball is gaining popularity in many regions of the world. To be precise, it is the second-most popular game worldwide. It proves that more and more people are beginning to like this game which has led to a surge in its popularity. Soccer tends to remain at the topmost position in popularity as of now.

But it is only a matter of time before basketball might take the lead. Also, there is concrete evidence that supports the theory of basketball becoming a beloved game across the world. It may take a considerable amount of time but the rising demand for basketball merchandise is proof that it has increased in leaps and bounds.

4. Global trend

There is no question that basketball has made its way in China and doing great in Europe as well. Moreover, basketball is more popular in the US, too. Even in the US, basketball has every possibility to rival soccer in terms of the number of players. A similar situation can be seen in other parts of the world, both for country and club competitions.

As of now, basketball seems to rule countries such as the US, Europe, and China. However, to make a big impact, it may take a while to lead the way. While this trend has never happened before, it can happen with basketball.

Understandably, about 300 million people in China are playing basketball at a certain level. Apart from that, the NBA stars are going to tap into the global market and fuel growth with their high-intensity level. That’s one country, but when paired with other small countries including the US, things could turn in favor of basketball in the future.