Football is an anomaly. It shouldn’t be as big as it is; it is an outlier. It is by far the biggest sport in the world, with approximately 3.5 billion people calling themselves fans of the sport — that’s over a billion more than the next biggest sport (cricket).
But why is this the case? What is it about a game that involves trying to kick a ball into a net that draws so many people in? And let’s not forget that most people aren’t casual fans; they’re hardcore, passionate spectators who care deeply about their team.
In this blog, we’re going to look at just six reasons why football has such a loyal following.
First, let’s think about the action itself. Other sports do have dramatic comebacks and shock results, but they don’t happen on the same scale as they do in football. On any given weekend, there’s always a chance of an upset, especially in the Premier League, where the bottom sides can and do beat the teams sitting towards the top of the table. Games can look settled with five minutes left, but then a flurry of goals goes in, and just like that, the result has been turned on its head. Then there are moments like Leicester City winning the title when, by all conventional wisdom, they shouldn’t have been anywhere near. You couldn’t write such a story — if you did, people would say it’s too far-fetched.
You Can Go Deeper
The action may take place at a specific time, on a specific day, but for football fans, the sport extends beyond those ninety minutes. The time before and after the action is arguably just as enjoyable. Before the match, you can study the form, make your predictions, and put some money on the line using the best football betting sites. This can be a lot of fun, so if you’ve never bet on football before, then read through OLBG’s guide to the best bookmakers for betting on football. If you win, then football won’t just be something that you passively receive, but something that provides a tangible return on your passion and know-how.
A Community Hub
Football would be nothing without the fans. People would be much less inclined to watch football games if they always had to do so alone. In major footballing cities, the local team provides an arena where people from the community can get together. It allows people to belong to something bigger than themselves. In an age when the individual is largely promoted above all else, football shows that people want to come together, especially in pursuit of a common goal.
It would be next to impossible for a new sport to match the popularity of football. That is, in part, because football will always have something that the new sport could not have for a hundred years (at least): history. In most corners of the world, people don’t pick a random team to support. They follow the team that their family follows. In this sense, football becomes something much more than whatever happens on the pitch. People follow clubs that lose week in, week out, out of loyalty not just to their team but to their family. It allows people to keep a connection to their loved ones and home city, no matter where in the world they live. Indeed, it can transcend life, helping to keep departed family members in our hearts and minds.
You Can Play It
You’re much more likely to follow a sport if you’ve played it yourself. A person would likely watch fencing if they had participated in the sport themselves and knew the rules and tactics, and so on. But most people don’t have an opportunity to fence, so they never develop an interest in watching the sport. Football is different. It’s the sport of the people. Indeed, it’s the largest sport in part because so many people played it when they were younger. Once you’ve played a sport, you can appreciate just how good the professionals are!
Memories for Life
Finally, we love football because it gives us memories for life. If you watch football for long enough, then eventually you’ll have an experience with your team that you treasure forever and ever. This could be a famous victory, trophy success, or simply just a great goal or moment of skill. They become memories that you share with others, that take you back to a specific period of your life. Not many things, and even fewer sports, can do that.