Which US Sports League is the Most Popular?

There are four traditional US sports leagues, the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. They all have many fans, but which of the leagues is the most popular?

The way to look at league popularity is to combine a number of different things. Viewers, TV deals, how other sports react to them, and much more is needed to work out which one is the most popular and where they all rank compared to each other.

We all have our favorites, and this is not going to change that, but it is interesting to see how the leagues compare and interact with each other.

The Current Sports Schedule in the USA

One of the great things about the main four sporting leagues in the USA is that it covers all 12 months of the year. This means if you are a general fan and you want to watch something, there will always be a league taking place for you.

This is something that benefits the MLB, because, for a couple of months during the summer, this is the only league to be taking place. The league starts at a bad time, when the NBA and NHL are heading into the playoffs but does have a key period where it stands alone in the middle of the summer.

The months of October to January are the four busiest of the year, with three of the four leagues taking place. The NFL takes center stags in September before the NBA and NHL starts, and then it does the same again in January when the playoffs begin.

The schedule as it stands now should favor the MLB as they get time with no one else playing, though that hasn’t made this league become the most popular.

Sports Betting in the USA

There is a new angle that we need to look at in the USA over the coming years which will determine how popular each league is. This is sports betting, something that is legal in some states, currently being finalized in others and on its way in near enough all states eventually it seems.

For many years, the USA has not had sports betting, so we’ve had no figures based on how many bets are placed on each sport. Those who want to place bets can now do so, which will please many people and give us figures to look at.

When signing up with a new bookmaker, players can receive free bets to spend on any sport they like. When doing this, to receive the free bet make sure you use the right promo code to avoid any problems.

Over the coming years, we will see a lot of bets placed and can determine which is the most popular sport for betting based on that.


The majority of people would agree that the NFL is the most popular sports league in the USA. They take center stage at a time when two other major leagues are playing.

The NBA and NHL both know that they are second behind the NFL and you only need to look at their schedules to see this. For example, look at how many NHL games are played on Sundays during the NFL season compared to how many are played after the NFL season.

The NHL does not want to clash with the biggest day in football, because it knows it will lose that battle.

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The NBA is perhaps the most interesting league of the top four in terms of what it could be if things moved around. As things stand now, the NBA is the second most popular league in the USA, behind the NFL but in front of the NHL and MLB.

However, basketball is seen as a summer sport to many and there have been calls to move the schedule around to take it away from the NFL. A small move would put the end of season playoffs in the middle of summer, competing with nothing other than the MLB and that would surely see a rise in the popularity of basketball.

The current start of the season comes when the NHL has just started and the NFL is in full swing Then the NBA sees a dip when the NFL playoffs start and when it gets around to its own playoffs, they go head to head with the NHL playoffs. A move in the season would take away much of that, offering the NBA prime time by itself.


The NHL is in a particularly tricky position and for that reason, it is the third most popular sporting league in the USA and will likely remain there for a long time. The sport is seen as a winter sport, so will always clash with the NFL because of that.

What could benefit the sport is if the NBA moved to the summer, allowing the NHL playoffs to stand alone through April, May, and June without much competition. As things stand now, there is not a lot of flexibility for the NHL and NBA to plan around each other for the playoffs because of arena availability.

We have seen many instances of the two leagues clashing with big games at the same time, which doesn’t help either.


The MLB is currently the only league that plays throughout the summer, so they have a time when they are the only sport on offer. Despite that, the league hasn’t really moved forward as it should have and if the NBA does ever move to the summer then that could harm baseball as a whole.

The MLB is the least popular sporting league in the USA, and it is like this despite having many things in its favor. As things stand at the moment, they have the summer to work hard and gain new fans but it won’t always be like that and this could prove to be a vital time for the league and how it moves forward.