There is a popular saying in Brazil that every kid dreams of becoming a professional football player. This might not be entirely true, but it definitely says a lot about the local sport preferences. Soccer is a national passion, but nowadays, for many people, it is not the only one.
Other sports are becoming more and more popular for different reasons. There is no doubt that the ease of watching anything nowadays is a major factor, especially since broadcasters are now airing international competitions of diverse modalities, and due to live streaming services.
Since it is not possible to quantify precisely the number of practitioners of each sport, the list below will introduce the ones that are more commonly watched as well. Although it does not provide an exact notion, it brings a complete overview of today’s relation between Brazilians and sports.
1. Football or Soccer
Football is Brazil’s favorite sport, period. According to FIFA (Fedération Internationale de Football Association), there are 13.2 million football players in Brazil, not considering those who practice it merely for fun. Brazil is known as the country of some of the most talented players in the world and is the only national team that has won five FIFA World Cup titles.
Also, football matches occupy the prime time of some of Brazil’s main TV channels, and every four years, when the FIFA World Cup happens, most Brazilians are allowed to work part-time — or to not work at all — when the National Team plays.
Not only is it the most practiced sport by young girls in the country, but volleyball is also one of the few sports broadcasted regularly by free-to-air TV stations.
When Atlas do Esporte Brasileiro, the research document on the practice of sports in Brazil was released in 2006, there were 15.3 million practitioners in the country, counting both pros and amateurs. The responsible entities for this sport believe this number has grown ever since.
It is not hard to understand why Swimming is popular in a country that has a coast with more than 7,000 km. People usually do not watch swimming competitions a lot, except when Olympic or Pan American Games are happening, but the number of swimmers in Brazil is very big: most of them learn how to swim when they are young. It might be important to highlight that saying you do not know how to swim may seem a bit strange to some Brazilians.