Mapping World Rankings in Various Sports
Different sports are popular in different places. Germans aren’t really into Australian football, there are no curling rinks in Senegal, and teaching the rules of cricket to a North American would probably require at least a six-week entry-level college course. Some sports have globalised themselves much more successfully than others; association football being the obvious example. One way to map how certain games have spread around the globe it to look at the world rankings for each game and see how they compare to each other. Some sports, while having been around for generations, are still confined to the areas around their places of origins, while others have spread to every continent.
For this article, 16 different sports were chosen. The top 20 countries in each sport have been mapped according to each country’s standing in the respective sport’s world ranking as of the end of May 2012. To keep this fair, prominent sports where international play at the elite level is either uncommon (e.g., baseball, which has only had two such international tournaments in its entire existence) or intermittent (e.g., ice hockey, which generally only holds international best-on-best matches every four years or so) have been excluded.
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