The most popular sports in Spain

The importance of sport in Spanish culture is enormous: it is practiced, seen and promoted with pride. There are many internationally recognized Spanish athletes, there are many people who incorporate sports practice into their daily lives and there are even many tourists who come to Spain attracted by events or sports complexes.

But what are those sports that are practiced the most or that attract so much public? We have compiled some of the most popular sports in Spain!


Without a doubt, soccer is the king of sports in Spain. Not only is it fervently followed (the Professional Soccer League has an audience of about 457,000 viewers per game), it is also highly practiced. Soccer is the sport that has the most federated players and, also, one of the most practiced by fans, whether in the modality of soccer 11 or futsal.

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Basketball is the second sport with the most federated players in Spain and, according to a study by Nielsen Sports, the third that generates the most interest in this country. Especially since so many Spanish players play in the NBA (Marc and Pau Gasol, Juancho and Willy Hernangómez, Serge Ibaka or Ricky Rubio). In addition, the national league, the ACB, has close to 400,000 spectators.


One of the most fashionable sports in Spain is paddle tennis. In recent years the number of people who practice it has increased significantly; and the best thing is that its popularity does not stop growing. Some 2 million people already play this sport regularly in Spain, which is the country in the world with the most paddle tennis courts.

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Cycling is the sport most practiced by the Spanish population, according to the Sports Statistics Yearbook produced by the Ministry of Sports. So it is not surprising that it is also one of the sports that fans follow the most. Cyclists like Indurain, Contador, Ocaña or Bahamontes turned this sport into a great television tradition.


Golf is another very popular sport in Spain, as it has some 270,000 registered players. Figures that are far from the elitist image that this sport has traditionally counted on and that show that it has become popular in recent decades. There are more than 400 golf courses in Spain, which attract around 1.2 million tourists each year.

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Leaving aside the number of licenses, the second sport that Spaniards practice the most according to statistics is swimming. It is the same as with cycling, they are the most recreational sports practiced by Spaniards, but the number of people who compete is very low.


Despite the fact that in recent years many people have opted for paddle tennis, tennis lovers are still very many in Spain. But not only is it a widely practiced sport, it is also widely followed by Spaniards thanks to tennis players like Rafa Nadal, considered by many to be the best tennis player in history.

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Some studies reveal that sports such as judo or mountaineering / climbing have a greater number of federated than handball, but it is very common for this sport to be practiced in schools and clubs. On a professional level, Spain is one of the powers of this sport, with one of the most successful teams in the world.


This data may surprise. Although it seems one of the less common sports, hunting is the third sport with the highest number of licenses in Spain. It is one of the most traditional hobbies and, despite not being a very media discipline, it is a great economic catalyst.

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Formula 1

This top 10 of the most popular sports in Spain could not end without mentioning the popularity of Formula 1 among the Spanish. Obviously, it is not one of the most practiced sports, but it does have a great hobby closely linked to the career of the pilot Fernando Alonso. The same happens with motorcycling, the presence of Spaniards such as Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa or Marc Márquez, have made it one of the most watched sports in Spain.

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