Popular Sports in Europe

Posted By Kathleen Dec 8, 2015

Many of today’s most popular sports in Europe originally developed in the United Kingdom as favorite pastimes. These passed on as a tradition from one generation to another. Today, they are well-organized sports which do not only offer entertainment but also serve as a profession for many. There are several European professional leagues for developing and organizing sports like soccer, cricket and volleyball.

Discussed below are some interesting facts and information about the most popular sports in Europe.


This world-famous game originated in the sixteenth century in England. It is played between two teams, each one comprised of eleven players. Professional cricket matches consist of One-Day matches as well as Test Matches played for up to five days.

Popular Sports in Europe - Cricket
  • There are over 120 million professional cricket players all over the world.
  • The European Cricket Council is responsible for overseeing cricket in the countries of Europe.
  • The only well-established European team belongs to England. The rest of the teams, including Scotland, Turkey and Netherlands are still struggling to come up to the standards of the international big guns.
  • Although pioneer of the game, England has never won the Cricket World Cup to this date. The country has, however, hosted the tournament four times.
  • Andrew Flintoff, member of the English cricket team, is considered to be one of the best All-rounders in the world.
  • The only European cricket team to have made it to the world cup finals is England. The team has been the runner up three times.
  • Alec Stewart, a retired professional cricket player of the English team, scored 8463 test runs during his career which is his birth date: 8-4-63.
  • There are over 12 billion fans of the sport all over the continent.


Soccer, also known as Association Football, is another of the most popular sports in Europe. It has two opposing teams consisting of eleven members each.

Popular Sports in Europe - Soccer
  • The number of European soccer fans is more than fifteen billion.
  • The ball used for the game consists of thirty-two panels – one for each of the European country.
  • In her teenage, Queen Elizabeth II used to disguise herself in order to participate in soccer matches played near Buckingham Palace.
  • Many world famous soccer players are from Europe. These include David Beckham and Lionel Messi.
  • David Beckham is among the world’s wealthiest soccer players. His earnings from the game amount to over 50 million US dollars.
  • The world famous soccer teams – Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid – belong to Europe.


Tennis is a famous racquet sport which is played between single opposing players. Teams consisting of two players each may also participate in the contest. This popular sport originated as lawn tennis back in the nineteenth century. Its country of origin is England.

Popular Sports in Europe - Tennis
  • According to the current ATP World rankings, the top three Tennis players belong to Europe. They are: Novak Djokovic from Siberia, Roger Federer from Switzerland and Andy Murray from England.
  • The oldest and most prestigious world tennis tournament is the Wimbledon. It takes place every year in London at the All England Club, Wimbledon.
  • The longest known Tennis match took place at the Wimbledon Tournament in 2010. The match lasted for eleven hours and five minutes.
  • The world’s oldest Tennis player is a European – the Croatian Ivo Karlovic who still has not retired at the age of 36.

Table Tennis

Also known as Ping Pong, the game is not only popular in Asia, but also in the European World. The game consists of two or four players hitting a ball across a table. The International Table Tennis Federation organizes tournaments all around the world.

Popular Sports in Europe - Table Tennis
  • Europe Top-12 is a popular table tennis tournament held every year in Europe. The region’s twelve best players participate in the challenge.
  • England’s Peter and Daniel Ives – father and son – formed a world record of the longest table tennis rally consisting of eight hours and forty minutes at a stretch. Their names have been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • The European countries honored by table tennis Olympics medals include Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden and Yugoslavia.
  • Professional table tennis leagues in the continent are funded by the government.
  • The only country in Europe – and the world – to beat the Chinese dominance in the world of table tennis is Sweden.


Another popular sport in the region is Golf. Its place of origin is Scotland where its history dates back to the fifteenth century. Today, there are over 300 million fans of the game in Europe.

Popular Sports in Europe - Golf
  • The most popular golf tournament is known as the Ryder Club. It is held once every two years between the teams of top European golfers and the best American golfers.
  • Among professional sports, golf is the only one in which the player with the lowest score is the winner.
  • The birthplace of golf – Scotland – houses more than five hundred golf courses today.
  • Among the top golf players of the continent are Rory Mcllory of Northern Ireland, Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Lee Westwood of England.

Apart from the above mentioned sports, the Europeans enjoy a variety of other games both on the national as well as international level. These include rugby, hockey, volleyball and basketball.

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