There are 79 Spanish speaking countries around the world, and sports have always played an important part of their culture and lifestyle. There are different popular sports in Spanish speaking countries, and these are the following:
- Soccer, commonly known as “futbol” or football is the most popular and favorite sport played in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries. It may not be as popular in other countries such as in the USA, but in Spain literally everyone plays it. If you happen to hear about Barcelona and Real Madrid, two of the most famous Spanish teams in the premier league La Liga or also called Primera, you are on the right track.
- Basketball is another popular team sport in Spanish speaking countries. With Serge Ibaka, brothers Pau and Marc Gasol, and Mano Ginobilirepresentstheir respective country in the NBA to name a few, basketball is truly one great sport to be proud of. In Spain, there are eighteen professional teams playing from September to June in local league and European events.
- Baseball is also one of the most played sports in Spanish speaking countries particularly in Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela. In Nicaragua, the American-style baseball is the most popular sport played, making it a tradition with five teams competing against each other. Players who will compete internationally are then picked from these five teams. In Panama, the influence of US can be seen in baseball as they have made this the national sport of the country.
Although team sports are very popular in Spanish speaking countries, the success of individual sports can’t be ignored too. Here are some individual sports played in Spanish speaking countries:
- Bullfighting, being Spain’s national sport, is one classic game played as a sport in Spanish speaking countries from way back in the eighteenth century. It started when Spanish nobles fought bulls to honor King Alfonso VIII’s coronation.This sport is most often played in Spain and Mexico.
- Cycling has grown in popularity too since the 1940s with Spain hosting one of the most important races called the Vuelta a Espana or “Tour of Spain” with Gustaaf Deloor from Belgium as its first winner. But the one who triggered the interest of many and positively brought great attention to this sport was cyclist Miguel Indurain when he won the Tour de France for five consecutive years, from 1991-1995.
- Tennis is one of the most successful sports played in Chile and Spain. When Spanish Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open and became the no. 1 ranked player, tennis in Spanish speaking countries has never been the same again.
- Boxing is no doubt, the most popular sport in Mexico. This sport spawned the rise of famous boxing personalities including Julio Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manual Marquez, and Julio Cesar Chavez.
- Formula One racing is recently gaining its popularity when it comes to sports in Spanish speaking countries. Fernando Alonso is currently the most successful Spaniard who won the World Drivers’ Champion twice and the only driver from Spain who won a Grand Prix.
The list of sports in Spanish speaking countries can go on and on. Consider Spain and the rest of the Spanish speaking countries a major sports powerhouse with their ability to adapt well in sports development. There is no doubt that we will be seeing the rise of famous athletes in these countries in the next years to come.