What are the Most Popular Spectator Sports in New York?

You find sports fan absolutely everywhere in the world, and each country or city usually has it’s favourites that are watched religiously every week. If you’re in Thailand, Muay Thai is arguably the most popular spectator sport in big cities and small towns; The English aredefinitely famousfor their frantic soccer fans and you’ll find people that support these teams in every corner of the globe; but the US has a few firm favourites when it comes to spectator sports, and in New York, there are huge teams in baseball, basketball and American football. Here is the low-down on the most popular spectator sports in New York and which teams you should be supporting.

Aerial View of Sports Stadium during Daytime


For a long time, baseball was considered the most popular sport in New York, above both American football and basketball. While it is questionable whether this statement is still standing, there is no doubt that thousands of fans turn out to watch baseball gamesfor one of the two Major League baseball franchises that play for the city. First, we have the New York Yankees that play at the world-famous Yankee Stadium in the American League and have had some iconic players including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle. They have won the world series 27 times, making them the most victorious team in the history of major league North American sports. In the National League, the New York Mets represent the city and the subway series, where these two teams rival each other on the field. It is possibly the most anticipated derby in New York history. Legalised sports betting in the Empire state launched in January 2022. Now, when any of these huge games are around the corner, the people of New York can now easily bet on their favourite team from the comfort of their own home.


New York City is arguably one of the best places to catch a basketball game at any level, and the sport itself has millions and millions of viewers all around the world. There are two teams that play for New York in the National Basketball Association (NBA): the New York Knickerbockers, commonly shortened to the New York Knicks, and the Brooklyn Nets. Basketball in New York has long had celebrity endorsement, with Director and Producer Spike Lee being the most dedicated Knicks supporter the world has ever seen, and his presence on the courtside is rarely missed. And the well-known name in hip-hop Sean“Jay-Z” Carter was once the part owner of the Brooklyn Nets and even designed their logo. The Knicks have won two NBA titles in their time, with Game 7 in the 1970 playoffs being particularly iconic as star player Willis Reed appeared on court leaving the crowd astonished after he was injured in Game 5 and completely missed Game 6, only to immediately hit the first two baskets and lead the Knicks to a 113-99 win. Basketball season runs between October and April and attending a basketball game is the best way to feel like a real New Yorker.

American Football

There is nothing more American than attending a National Football League (NFL) American football game in New York itself. In the US, the NFL is probably the most popular sports league of all, and once again, the city of New York has two teams in its corner: the New York Giants and the New York Jets. One of the original NFL teams, the New York Giants have such a huge fanbase that tickets for games are almost always sold out. Since 1984, both the Jets and the Giants have been playing at the MetLife Stadium. The NFL season usually runs between September and January, but the main event by far in NFL football is the annual Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is the final play off between the two top teams in the league and is watched all over the world because of the iconic half-time show. The New York Giants have seen victory at the Super Bowl four times, while the Jets have only experienced the thrill of winning once, making the Giants the preferred team in New York.

Football Players

Ice Hockey

Just to one up the rest of the big sports, New York actually has three names in the running when it comes to the National Hockey League (NHL): the New York Islanders, New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils. The season runs from October through April and final playoffs usually take place in June. The New York Teams haven’t always been successful when it comes to the finals; combined, New York’s NHL teams have won the Stanley Cup, which is awarded to the national playoff champion, 11 times. Attending an ice hockey game in New York is definitely one for the sports fans bucket list.

Sport is such a huge part of many peoples lives, and the people of New York are spoilt for choice when it comes to supporting and attending games for some of the biggest teams in professional spectator sports in the world.

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