Sports is one of the largest industries in the United States. It’s worth more than $160 billion in the country. In terms of professional sports, the United States is 50% bigger than the Middle East, Europe, and Africa combined, with $69 billion worth.
Baseball is America’s national sport, but the popularity of football in recent years has made it the most anticipated sports event every year. Let’s learn more about the country’s must-follow sports leagues and see their market size.
Football boasts a big game atmosphere, with a huge crowd cheering on each match. It has a huge betting market, with a large bulk of spectators looking at NFL daily fantasy odds, lines, and spreads. The NFL was initially established as the American Football Association (APFA) in 1920, making it one of the oldest sports leagues in the country. In 1922, the league transformed and emerged as National Football League (NFL). From there, the league became a testament to America’s rich history in terms of sports.
Composed of two conferences: the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC), the NFL is comprised of 32 teams in total. Each conference is subdivided into four divisions each. Each team plays 16 games in the 17-week regular season and gets one bye week. The playoffs will then follow it and, ultimately, the Super Bowl.
The most successful team in the league is Green Bay Packers, with 13 titles under their belt. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs are the most recent champions, boasting three titles.
As already mentioned, baseball is the country’s national sport. At the same time, Major League Baseball or MLB is the oldest sports league in the country. The league was rooted in the formation of the National League (NL) 147 years ago in 1876. In 1901, the American League (AL) was founded.
The National Agreement was signed in 1903, which directs each conference to respect the contracts of every player. The agreement also covers the arrangement of a championship series between the winners of each conference.
Currently, the MLB has 30 teams in total. The most recent champions were the Houston Astros, with two titles. Meanwhile, the winningest football team in the league is New York Yankees, with 27 titles since they were founded.
The National Basketball Association was established 77 years ago on June 4, 1946, in New York City. The NBA comprises 29 teams from the United States and one from Canada. Its headquarters is at 645 Fifth Avenue, New York. Historically, basketball was played first in the 20th century when Dr. James Naismith conceived the game. However, the NBA made the sports a staple in the American sports industry.
The NBA comprises two conferences: the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. Each of them has three divisions. Each team across the United States will face each other in the regular season, comprising 82 games. The culminating event will be the playoffs, where each team’s endurance, strategy, and skill will be tested, ultimately hailing one team to win the championship title.
Denver Nuggets claimed the most recent NBA title. It was their first title since they joined the NBA. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are tied as the teams with the most titles, claiming 17 each.
Founded on November 26, 1917, the National Hockey League (NHL) has become one of the most significant sports leagues in the United States. It comprises 32 teams, with 17 teams from Canada and 25 from the United States.
The NHL is subdivided into Western and Eastern Conferences, with teams distributed across North America. This sports league has brought cities and regions together as teams play 82 games in the regular season. In total, there are 1,312 games that hockey fans can follow.
The playoff champion will receive the Stanley Cup at the end of the season. It is considered the “most important championship available to the sport,” as the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) views it. The most recent winner of the league is the Vegas Golden Knights, while the team with the most wins is the Montreal Canadiens, with 25 titles under their belt.
The inaugural season of Major League Soccer (MLS) was held in 1996, but the league was founded on December 17, 1993. The MLS comprises the Western Conference and Eastern Conference, with 29 participating teams. There are 26 teams from the United States and three teams from Canada. This 2023, each team will play two games against each team in its conference and a match against four or five teams from the other conference.
The current MLS champions are the Los Angeles Football Club, based in Los Angeles, California. Meanwhile, the winningest team in the league is Los Angeles Galaxy, with five MLS Cups.
With the excitement surrounding these leagues, they have undeniably become must-follow sports in the United States. More than their growing popularity, these sports leagues have been dedicated to youth development, aiming to encourage the younger generation to play sports and make an impact on the American sporting landscape.