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Top 10 most Popular Football leagues in the world 2024

Football is arguably the most popular sport in the world. It attracts a tremendous audience in the stadium as well as through streaming and live broadcasting. The popularity of the sport can be known from its reach in more than 200 countries. These countries play it as their major sport. Football lovers follow and support their favourite team and players to the maximum extent.

Here we rank the top 10 most watched football leagues in the world, involving viewership in the stadium and audience watching on TV and other streaming platforms:

Top 10 most Popular Football leagues in the world

Football viewership is on the rise around the world, with fans able to watch live matches from a variety of leagues and competitions on television and streaming platforms. The most viewed football leagues in the world are the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, and the German Bundesliga, but there are a number of other leagues that are also gaining popularity, such as the Italian Serie A, the French Ligue 1, and the Brazilian Serie A.

The rise in football viewership is good news for the sport, as it means that more people are able to enjoy the excitement and drama of football matches. It also means that there is more money available to invest in the sport, which could lead to further improvements in the quality of play.

The variety in football leagues and, of course, players make it even more interesting for football lovers. Even with average attendance, football teams have a tremendous number of fans, resulting in a higher stadium audience. Listing the top 10 most-watched football leagues in the world.

10. Chinese Super League (China)

Chinese Super League or CSL, currently known as the China Ping An Chinese Football Association Super League for sponsorship reasons, is the top level of professional football in China, conducted under the Chinese Football Association (CFA). 

The League was officially established in 2004 by renaming the former top division, Chinese Jia-A League. The League has over a million viewers worldwide, and the average stadium attendance of 24,107 persons is the highest in Asia. Chinese Super League have a fan base of 700 million fan base around the world.

The CSL’s popularity is due to several factors, including:

  • Investment from wealthy Chinese clubs: In recent years, wealthy Chinese clubs have invested heavily in foreign players and managers. This has helped to raise the quality of the League and attract more attention from global fans.
  •  Improved broadcasting deals: The CSL has signed lucrative deals with major broadcasters worldwide. This has made it easier for fans to watch the League, regardless of location.
  •  The rise of social media: Social media has played a major role in popularizing the CSL among global fans. Fans can now follow their favourite teams and players on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. This has helped to create a more engaged and passionate fan base.

Here are some data points to back up the claim that the CSL is one of the most-watched football leagues in the world:

  • The CSL has an average viewership of over 20 million people per game.
  •  The CSL is broadcast in over 100 countries and territories around the world.
  •  The CSL has a social media following of over 100 million people.

Resources:

  • Deloitte Chinese Super League Annual Review 2024
  •  Nielsen Global Sports Fan Report 2024
  •  Forbes China Sports Industry Report 2024

9. Dutch Eredivisie (Netherlands)

The Dutch Eredivisie is the highest level of professional football in the Netherlands. The league was founded in 1956, two years after the beginning of professional football in the Netherlands. The Eredivisie consists of 18 clubs.

The Winner of the Eredivisie claims the Dutch National Championship. Club Ajax is the record winner of the tournament, with a total of 36 National Championships. The average audience attendance for the matches in Dutch Eredivisie is 18,010. The league also has a high viewership through broadcasts. For example, Ajax’s match against PSV Eindhoven has recorded over 1.2 million viewers.

The Eredivisie is known for its attacking style of play and its production of young talent. Some of the biggest football stars in the world, including Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, and Dennis Bergkamp, have all played in the Eredivisie.

Here are some additional data points to back up the claim that the Eredivisie is one of the most watched football leagues in the world:

  • The Eredivisie has an average stadium attendance of over 18,000 per game.
  • The Eredivisie is broadcast in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
  • The Eredivisie is home to some of the most popular football clubs on social media, including Ajax and PSV Eindhoven.

Resources:

  • FIFA World Football Report 2024
  • Deloitte Global Sports Outlook 2024
  • Nielsen Global Sports Fan Report 2024

The Eredivisie is a great league to watch for football fans of all ages. It is a league with a rich history and a bright future. If you are looking for a new league to watch, I highly recommend the Eredivisie.

In addition to the above, here are some reasons why the Eredivisie is so enjoyable to watch:

  • The Eredivisie is known for its attacking style of play. Teams in the Eredivisie typically score more goals than teams in other leagues.
  • The Eredivisie is a very competitive league. There are no easy games in the Eredivisie, and any team can beat any other team on any given day.
  • The Eredivisie is a great place to watch young talent. The Eredivisie has a long history of producing world-class players.

If you are looking for a football league that is exciting, competitive, and full of young talent, then the Eredivisie is the league for you.

8. Brasileiro Serie A (Brazil)

Brasileiro Serie A, also known as Brasileiro Assai, due to a sponsorship deal with Assai Atacadista. It is a Brazilian professional football league. Brasileiro is the prime football competition in the country. 20 clubs contest the league.

According to a report by Nielsen, the global sports measurement company, Brasileiro Série A, was the third most-watched football league in the world in 2022, with over 1.5 billion viewers. This puts it ahead of other popular leagues, such as the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, and the German Bundesliga.

The league is very popular in Europe as well as in the world for producing talents like Neymar Jr., Thiago Silva, and Vinicus Jr. Palmeiras is the most successful club in Brasileiro Serie A, with nine titles, while Flamengo is the current winner. The league has an average attendance of 43,458 and a global viewership of 1.4 million.

Another reason for Brasileiro Série A’s popularity is the fans’ passion. Brazilian fans are known for their love of football, and they create an incredible atmosphere at stadiums across the country. The league also has a strong social media presence, with millions of fans following their favourite teams and players online.

The global popularity of Brasileiro Série A is good news for the league and Brazilian football. It shows that the league is producing high-quality football that is enjoyed by fans all over the world. It also means more interest in the league from sponsors and investors. This could lead to even more investment in the league and in Brazilian football development.

Here are some additional data points to back up the claim that Brasileiro Série A is one of the most-watched football leagues in the world:

  • Brasileiro Série A is broadcast in over 100 countries and territories worldwide.
  •  The average Brasileiro Série A match is watched by over 10 million people worldwide.
  •  The most popular Brasileiro Série A clubs on social media have over 100 million followers.

Resources:

  • Nielsen Global Sports Fan Report 2024
  •  Statista: Online audiences of Brazil’s soccer championship
  •  FIFA: Football Market Report 2024

7. Bundesliga (Germany)

Der Klassiker: Bayern Munich 4-2 Borussia Dortmund- Tuchel Starts Bayern Munich Career with defining win

The Bundesliga is the primary football league competition in Germany. The league was founded in 1963 and consists of 18 clubs. The league operates on a system of promotion and relegation in 2 Bundesliga Leagues. The league is highly recognized for having star players like Thomas Muller and Harry Kane.

According to a report by Nielsen, the global sports marketing research firm, the Bundesliga was the seventh most watched football league in the world in the 2022/23 season. It was watched by over 1.5 billion people worldwide, reaching an average of 361,000 viewers per game.

Bayern Munich is the most popular club in the Germain league and has won 32 out of 60 Bundesliga titles as well as nine consecutive seasons, which is a European record. It also has an average viewership of 361,000 for each game and reaches over 1.7 million through broadcasting.

The Bundesliga’s popularity is due to a number of factors, including its high quality of play, its competitive nature, and its exciting atmosphere. The league is home to some of the biggest clubs in the world, such as Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and RB Leipzig. These clubs attract world-class players and coaches, which leads to a high level of play.

The Bundesliga is also very competitive. There is no clear favorite to win the league each year, and there are always a number of teams in contention for the title. This makes the league exciting and unpredictable, which attracts viewers.

Finally, the Bundesliga has a great atmosphere. The stadiums are always packed with passionate fans, and the games are played in a competitive but fair spirit. This creates a unique and exciting experience for both the players and the fans.

Here are some additional data points to back up the claim that the Bundesliga is one of the most watched football leagues in the world:

  • The Bundesliga is broadcast in over 200 countries and territories.
  • The Bundesliga has over 100 million followers on social media.
  • The Bundesliga is the most popular foreign football league in the United States.

Resources:

  • Nielsen Global Sports Fan Report 2024
  • Bundesliga Global Viewership Report 2022/23
  • Bundesliga Social Media Report 2024

6. Major League Soccer (USA)

Major League Soccer (MLS) is the most renowned and prestigious league in the United States and was founded in 1993. The United States Soccer Federation conducts the league. It comprises 29 teams, 26 in the United States and 3 in Canada.

According to a report by Nielsen Sports, MLS had a global viewership of over 400 million viewers in 2022. This makes it more popular than some of the biggest leagues in Europe, such as the French Ligue 1 and the Russian Premier League.

In 2023, since football maestro Lionel Messi entered into Major League Soccer, the league got a quick boom. The fan following, streaming, and broadcasting of the league and of the clubs has been increased significantly.

The league has averaged about 2 million spectators every game, which makes it one of the most-watched football leagues in the world.

Another reason for MLS’s popularity is its accessibility. MLS games are broadcast on various channels and devices, making it easy for fans to watch their favourite teams.

MLS is also popular because of its unique culture. MLS games are known for their energetic atmospheres and passionate fans.

Here are some additional data points to back up the claim that MLS is one of the most-watched football leagues in the world:

  • MLS viewership has increased by over 50% in the past five years.
  •  MLS is now broadcast in over 100 countries and territories.
  •  MLS has over 10 million social media followers.

Resources:

  • Nielsen Sports: Major League Soccer Viewership Report 2024
  •  MLS: Viewership Data

5. Serie A (Italy)

Napoli vs Rangers

Serie A is the top level of the professional football league of the Italian football league system. The league was founded in 1898 making it one of the oldest leagues in the world. It has been conducting a round-robin tournament for over ninety years.

According to a report by Nielsen, Serie A is the fifth most watched football league in the world, behind the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, and French Ligue 1. In 2022/23, Serie A had an average global viewership of 24.7 million viewers per match.

Serie A is recognized as one of the world’s best football leagues and is often depicted as the most defensively sound national league. Except for Spain’s La Liga, Serie A hold the record for winning the highest number of Ballon d’Or awards than any league in the world.

The league consists of 20 teams since the 2004-05 season. Famous Italian clubs like AC Milan, Juventus, and Inter Milan are added to their league’s first division. After Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus in 2018, the average view of the league which was 24,700 has sky rocket to 2 million viewvers. Juventus has won the league 36 times, while Inter Milan is the current champion.

Serie A is also popular because of its passionate fan base. Italian football fans are known for their intensity and support for their teams. This creates a unique and exciting atmosphere at Serie A matches.

Here are some additional data points to back up the claim that Serie A is one of the most watched football leagues in the world:

  • Serie A is the most watched football league in Italy, with an average attendance of over 25,000 spectators per match.
  • Serie A is broadcast in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
  • Serie A has a strong social media presence, with over 100 million followers on its social media platforms.

Resources:

  • Nielsen Global Sports Fan Report 2024
  • Serie A website
  • Football Italia website

4. Liga Apertura (Mexico)

Liga Apertura is officially known as Liga BBVA MX, and it is the top football league in Mexico. The league was established in 1943 as the Primera Division. It is conducted by 18 clubs separated into two tournaments, ‘Apertura’ and ‘Clausura’. The season begins with apertura, which runs from July to December, followed by Clausura, which runs from January to May.

In terms of style of gameplay, Liga Apertura has close analogies to Spanish and Brazilian leagues. Club America holds the record for winning most league titles, with 13 and CD Cruz Azul as the defending champion.

According to official data, the league has an average stadium attendance of 25,557 people. The TV viewership of the league got a significant rise, reaching 3.7 million households. There are around 2.7 billion fans of Liga MX Apertura across the world.

Ligue 1 (France)

Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, and Verratti Absent from PSG's Ligue 1 Opener
Image Courtesy: Footy Insider HQ/Twitter

Ligue 1 is the most competitive professional-level football league in France. Officially, the league was founded in 1930 and is contested by 18 clubs. The league operates on a system of promotion and relegation from 1 to League 2. Its season runs from August to May.

In the 2022-23 season, Ligue 1 averaged over 10 million viewers per game worldwide. This makes it the fifth most watched football league in the world, behind the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and the Bundesliga.

The popularity of the league can be understood by the fact that it’s ranked 3rd in the list of the top 10 most watched leagues in the world. Paris Saint-Germain is the most complete club with 11 league titles, while Olympique Lyonnais has a record of winning the most consecutive titles (seven titles from 2002 to 2008). 

The AS Saint-Etienne is the most successful club in the history of the league, with ten titles to their name. Ligues 1 has an average stadium attendance of 22,484, with 10.5 million global viewership per game. The league attracts 2.9 billion fans around the world.

Finally, Ligue 1 is also popular because of its unique atmosphere and culture. French football fans are known for their passion and support for their teams. This creates an electric atmosphere at Ligue 1 matches, which is something that viewers enjoy watching.

Here are some additional data points to back up the claim that Ligue 1 is one of the most watched football leagues in the world:

  • Ligue 1 is broadcast in over 200 countries and territories.
  • Ligue 1 has over 1 billion followers on social media.
  • The most popular Ligue 1 clubs have over 10 million followers each on social media.

2. La Liga (Spain)

Real Madrid 1-3 Barcelona: Culers win first trophy under Xavi Hernandez; beat Madrid in final of Super Cup 2023
Image Courtesy: @FCBarcelona/twitter

La Liga, commonly known as Primera Division, is the top professional football league of the Spanish football league. The league was officially established in 1920 and has been contested by 20 clubs since 1997.

La Liga is broadcast in over 200 countries and territories around the world. In the 2022/23 season, La Liga matches had an average global viewership of over 300 million people. This makes La Liga one of the most watched sporting events in the world.

La Liga has the most famous clubs, like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, who majorly dominate the league. The league also holds the record for winning the maximum number of Ballon d’Or than any league in the world. Real Madrid has a record for winning the most number of Champions League titles.

Los Blancos have the record for winning the most number of league titles 34 times. Barcelona is the current winner of the league’s title. La Liga has a record of 76 million fans watching every match. The league have a tremendous fan base of 3.2 billion across the world.

La Liga also benefits from the fact that it is played in Spain, which is a popular tourist destination. Many fans from around the world travel to Spain to watch La Liga matches in person.

Here are some additional data points to back up the claim that La Liga is one of the most watched football leagues in the world:

  • La Liga is the second most watched football league in the world, after the English Premier League.
  • La Liga matches are broadcast in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
  • In the 2022/23 season, La Liga matches had an average global viewership of over 300 million people.
  • The most popular La Liga matches, such as El Clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona, can attract over 1 billion viewers worldwide.

1. Premier League (England)

Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal; City Beat Gunners in Race for Title
Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal; City Beat Gunners in Race for Title

The English Premier League is the unbeaten league with the most watched and loved league worldwide. It was founded in 1993, and in a short time, it achieved the highest level of league in England and the globe. The league also lead in terms of finance from all the league.

Some of the strong fanbase and viewership clubs are Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Arsenal FC, and Chelsea FC. Manchester United have lifted league titles 20 times, higher than any other club. The league have produced global stars like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It also has a strong stadium attendance of 38,181 people, with 743 million online viewers per game and a charismatic fan base of 3.2 billion around the world.

The Premier League is also well-marketed. The league has a strong brand identity, and its clubs are some of the most valuable in the world. This makes the EPL attractive to sponsors and investors, which helps to generate revenue for the league and its clubs.

Here are some data points to back up the claim that the Premier League is the most watched football league in the world:

  • The EPL has a global television audience of over 4.7 billion people.
  • The average EPL match is watched by over 643 million people worldwide.
  • The EPL is the most popular football league on social media, with over 1 billion followers.

Rise in Football viewership

In 2024, the viewership of the football league has boomed compared to some years back, increasing its popularity even more. According to a report by FIFA, the global governing body of football, the 2022 FIFA World Cup was watched by a record-breaking 5 billion people worldwide. This represents a significant increase from the previous World Cup in 2018, which 3.5 billion people watched.

The increase in viewership is not just limited to major tournaments like the World Cup. Domestic leagues and club competitions are also seeing record-breaking viewership numbers. For example, the English Premier League, widely regarded as the most popular domestic league in the world, is now broadcast in over 200 countries and territories.

There are several reasons why football viewership has skyrocketed in recent years. One reason is increased media coverage. Football is now broadcast on more channels and devices than ever before. This has made it easier for fans to watch their favourite teams and players, regardless of where they are.

Another reason for the increase in viewership is improved infrastructure. In recent years, many countries have invested heavily in improving their sports stadiums and infrastructure. This has made it possible for more fans to attend games in person.

The rise of social media has also played a role in the increase in football viewership. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow fans to connect with each other and share their passion for the sport. This has helped to create a more engaged and passionate fan base.

The increase in football viewership is good news for the sport. It shows that football is becoming more popular and accessible to people all over the world. It also means more interest in the sport from sponsors and investors. This could lead to even more investment in football infrastructure and development.

Here are some additional data points to back up the claim that football viewership has skyrocketed in recent years:

  • The global football market is expected to reach $72 billion by 2027.
  •  The average football fan watches over 60 hours of football per year.
  •  The most popular football clubs on social media have over 100 million followers.

Author

Sajid Siddiqui - 23 Posts

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