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What are the 5 most popular sports in Brazil?

It’s not hard to guess that football is the most popular sport in Brazil, and some would argue that for Brazilians it’s not a sport but more of a religion. Nevertheless, there are many more disciplines that have won favour in the country. Today, STATSCORE takes a look at the most popular sports in Brazil!

1. Football

Yes, it has to come first! Brazilians are extremely passionate about football, and they sometimes call their homeland „o País do Futebol” („the country of football”). It’s by far the most followed and played discipline of sport in the country.

The Canarinhos are the most successful national team in the world, being crowned FIFA World Cup winner five times: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. They are the only team to participate in every World Cup competition ever held. Throughout the years they’ve produced such stars as Pelé, Garrincha, Cafu, Romário, Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaká and Neymar.

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There are currently 2.1 million registered football players in Brazil, and more than 29,000 football clubs. Football is a major part of Brazilian culture and is widely played on the streets and fields throughout the country.

The governing body of football in the country is the Brazilian Football Confederation. Brazil has a unique football system in which each state holds its own competitions (State Championships), while the top clubs are also taking part in parallel federal championships. The Campeonato Brasileiro Série A is the highest tier of the Brazilian football pyramid.

2. Volleyball

Volleyball is another team sport in which Brazilians have had some fantastic achievements. The men’s national team has won three gold Olympic medals and is currently ranked as the number 1 team on the FIFA World Ranking.  The sport is widely played (also as Beach Volleyball) and followed by millions of Brazilians.

It is often said that Brazil’s love affair with volleyball started on July 26, 1983, when their national team played an exhibition game in the legendary Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro, in front of 95,000 fans. Brazil won the game 3-1 starting a real craze for the game.

The biggest achievements of the Brazil volleyball national team

  • 3 Olympic gold medals (1992, 2004 and 2016) and 3 silver medals (1984, 2008 and 2012),
  • 3 World Championship gold medals (2002, 2006, 2010),
  • 3 World Cup gold medals (2003, 2007, and 2019),
  • 9 FIVB World League gold medals (1993, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010),
  • 5 Volleyball Grand Champions Cup gold medals (1997, 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2017).
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The women’s team has become very successful too with two Olympic gold medals and two bronze ones. Three World Championships silver medials, and eleven FIVB World Grand Prix victories.

The top volleyball and beach competitions in the country are organized by the Brazilain Volleyball Confederation.

3. Mixed martial arts and Brazilian ju-jitsu

Martial arts are big in Brazil, and according to some research their popularity has been growing in recent years.

Brazilian ju-jitsu is one of the disciplines that was developed in the country. It was created around 1920 as a self-defence system by Brazilian brothers Carlos, Oswaldo, Gastão Jr., George, and Hélio Gracie.

The discipline evolved into a popular combat sport and has become one of the key elements in the development of the modern-style MMA, which is now one of the most followed sports in the country.

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The most successful Brazilian fighters in the history of MMA include Anderson Silva, Royce Gracie, and Wanderlei Silva.

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4. Basketball

Basketball is one of the most followed team sports in the country. And, of course, Brazilian national basketball teams have seen some success on the international stage!

The Brazilian national team has won FIBA Basketball World Championship twice, in 1959 and 1963. They have also been runners-up on two occasions in 1954 and 1970, as well as finishing third in 1967 and 1978. The team’s successes also include three Olympic bronze medals (1948, 1960, 1964).

Brazil’s top basketball league is called Novo Basquete Brasil and is organized by the National Basketball League (Liga Nacional de Basquete).

The sport’s popularity has been boosted by Brazilan players’  (including Leandro Barbosa and Nenê) participation in the world’s top league, the NBA.

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Basketball competitions, including the national league and the NBA, is widely broadcast on Brazilian TV, prominently the national league (NBB) and the NBA.

In September 2022 Brazil will host the 19th edition of FIBA AmeriCup, the most prestigious competition of men’s basketball in the Americas.

5. Motorsport

Motorsport, especially Formula One, is widely followed by Brazilians as well!

There have been 32 Formula One drivers from Brazil, including three world champions: Emerson Fittipaldi (1972 and 1974), Nelson Piquet (1981, 1983 and 1987), and Ayrton Senna (1988, 1990 and 1991).

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São Paulo Grand Prix, previously called the Brazilian Grand Prix, is a Formula One race that is held at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos neighbourhood, Cidade Dutra, São Paulo.


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