As of 2014, the NFL is the most popular sport in the United States among fans 18 and older, according to the Harris Poll. In terms of youth participation, basketball was the most popular sport played in 2013 from children ages 6 to 17.
The Harris Poll indicates 35 percent of sports fans surveyed named American football as their favorite sport, versus Major League Baseball at 14 percent, followed by college football, auto racing, the NBA, the NHL and college basketball in descending order.
Basketball is the top youth sport because both boys and girls play the sport for most of their childhood. Baseball is the second-most popular youth sport, followed by soccer.