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From a stereotypical, ethnocentric American sports fan's point of view, cricket is definitely a niche world sport, but the argument can be made that baseball and hockey are, as well. American football can't even be called a niche world sport because not enough countries actively participate in leagues.
Lacrosse would be considered a niche sport. It has gained popularity in the U.S. over the years, but is not followed with the passions of the mainstream sports.
The two most popular played and spectated world team sports are probably soccer and basketball with soccer being number one.
Volleyball is probably high up there, too. I would guess that volleyball is third in the world. The Volleyball World Cup is later this year in Japan.
There's no real definitive chart on the internet to explain the most popular sports played and spectated in the world. It's hard to get completely accurate statistics in this target research area.
Cricket and rugby belong together. We know that both sports are highly respected in the world and both have international tournaments. The Rugby World Cup is played later this year in England.
Though most American sports fans know that cricket and rugby are respected world sports, they don't really know the basic rules for scoring and how the games are played. P.E./Gym classes in American schools don't cover these sports.
Soccer is often defined as the 'beautiful game', but it is equally often referred to as the 'world's game.'
Part of what has made soccer so easy for fans to follow is the ease in understanding the game. At its very basics, there are 10 on 10 kicking a ball to score a goal and not using their hands and there is one goalkeeper for each team who can use his/her hands to prevent a goal.
The niche sports have particular countries that dominate each of them. We are seeing in the Cricket World Cup that Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan are continuing to show their power in cricket. These former winners are likely to make it out of pool play. Also, Bangladesh has a strong chance to make it to the knock-out stage quarterfinals.
A good amount of the countries participating in the Cricket World Cup are not soccer power countries. England is the only traditional soccer power playing in this year's Cricket World Cup.
FIFA is probably watching the Cricket World Cup closely, in a poaching position. It surely has its eyes on those four cricket power countries with huge populations of people.
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan are proven cricket powers, how long before they can become soccer powers?