Friday, April 19, 2024

How Popular Is Hockey Across the World?

Field hockey is one of those sports we typically spot on TV only during the Olympics. If you actually think about it, even then we rarely see a full hockey match live. Instead, TV stations usually show some highlights during the daily recap of events.

The goal of this article is to figure out the popularity of field hockey across the world, and in some specific countries. 

Let’s start with a bit of history. The first Men’s Field Hockey World Cup was held in 1971, and the first edition of Women’s World Cup took place one year later, in 1972. 

So far, Pakistan has been the most successful men’s field hockey squad, having won the championships four times. Still, the Pakistani domination remained in the 20th century. India, the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia are also among the most successful national teams.

As for women, the Netherlands has had the most wins – nine world cup titles so far. In the last twenty years, only Argentina managed to become world champions – twice (in 2002 and 2010).

At the Summer Olympics, the situation is a bit different: India has won eight golds so far at men’s Olympic tournaments, and at women’s competitions, the Netherlands have won four titles so far. 

Based on the above, you might start thinking that field hockey is a popular sport in India, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Argentina, or Germany. However, the harsh truth is that in most of these countries, field hockey is not even among the first three of four most popular sports. 

Even in the UK, where field hockey has a long university tradition, it’s not among the most popular sports. Also, knowing that British men’s and women’s field hockey teams have won three and one Olympics golds, respectively, one might think that Britons are into this sport. However, if you take a look at sports TV programmes or visit the most popular sport-related websites, you’ll see that field hockey is nowhere near football or cricket. For most Brits, going through a reviewed UK betting sites list is the farthest they get in terms of both online and offline field hockey activities, but it’s still not a popular sport to bet on compared to football or horse racing.

If we stay in Europe and take a look at another successful national squad, which is Germany, we’ll again see that international success in competition and sport’s popularity don’t overlap. While Germans do play field hockey – 89,000 registered players in 2022 – it’s still a drop in the ocean, if we know that almost 90 million people live in this country.

The only exception here is the Netherlands. As a geographically flat area, the entire country makes for a perfect field hockey pitch. Combined with a sporty, outgoing lifestyle that most Dutch people lead, it’s logical that this country cherishes a long field hockey tradition. In 2016, USAToday even published a report on field hockey in the Netherlands, claiming that 253,000 people played this sport recreationally in the Netherlands at that time. According to Statista’s field hockey numbers, this trend continued to 2019, evolving until the present day. 

So, unlike their British across-the-sea neighbors, the Dutch take active part in field hockey games, playing it as a recreational sport for all ages, and as a professional national sport. 

Now you know a bit more about the popularity of field hockey on different meridians. If you want to pursue a career in this sport, book a ticket to Amsterdam as soon as possible! 

Total Hockey

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