Sport is an integral part of human identity, the need to compete with one another stems right back to the earlier days- when rivalries would be settled usually with intensely violent physical confrontation. Whilst that unfortunately still goes on, we now have sport as well with which to outdo one another in the name of preference and allegiance. Here’s a look, arranged in no particular order- at some of the most popular sporting competitions in the world as of 2013.
10. Rugby World Cup
Since the sports conception at an English private school sometime in the early 19th century, Rugby has grown to the level it now enjoys as a main priority in many nations across the world. Though fairly un-championed for the most part throughout the US (the national team is gradually getting better though…), Rugby is insanely popular throughout all parts of the UK, Ireland, France, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and even Argentina! A main catalyst in the sports increasing threat towards others in these nations (in particular soccer), is the advent of the Rugby World Cup- a huge multi-week event that sees teams representing aforementioned nations plus more competing fiercely for the prestigious Web Ellis trophy.
9. Cricket World Cup
Similar to Rugby in the respect that it is relatively un-followed throughout the United States, Cricket is nonetheless one of the most popular sports on Earth- with an estimated 2,000,000,000 viewers each year. First hosted in the sports native England in 1975, the Cricket World Cup brings together international teams for a series of highly competitive one-day matches (yes, it is common for Cricket matches to last over a day in length). The last one was hosted in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2011- and saw some 14 teams representing the likes of Australia, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands compete.
8. NBA Finals
Named the NBA World Championship Series up until 1986, the NBA Finals mark the annual culmination of both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. Basketball is arguably the most viewed sport in the US, with the NBA in particular raking in constantly increasing ratings each and every year. The finals are surely an offshoot of such a statistic, and as a championship series- the winner is decided through a 2-3-2 format- with the victor walking away with the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
7. World Baseball Classic
The second of the three sports that appear to dominate Northern American sports, Baseball is an activity which has held a place in the rich tapestry of American culture since the first recorded game was held in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1846. The World Baseball Classic is an international competition sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, held every four years (though up until recently every three). Though more popular outside of the US than within, most likely as a result of the abundance of existing focus on the sport in the country, the World Baseball Classic has snowballed in acclaim since its conception in 2005 as response to the removal of the sport from the Olympic games.
6. Fifa World Cup
Founded in 1930, and held once every four years since (except in 1942 + 1946- thanks to WWII)- the FIFA World Cup, or just World Cup- is an international association football (soccer) competition which brings teams from all corners of the globe to a particular nation for a month (or thereabouts) of heated competition. Due to the popularity of the sport in such a high amount of countries worldwide, in the year or two leading up to the ‘finals’, some 200+ national sides compete in a series of ‘qualifier rounds’ to determine the final 32 sides. The competition was last held in 2010, and we all watched in horror as the Spanish took the title.