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Baseball is supposedly America's favorite pastime, but if you're looking for the most die-hard fans, you may want to check out the other side of the globe. In Japan, almost half the adult population (45 percent) names baseball as its favorite televised sport, compared with just 11 percent of folks in the good old U.S.A. who do so, according to a recent survey of adults in 34 countries by research firm Ipsos-Reid.

In fact, most TV sports junkies don't reside in the U.S. at all. South Korea is home to the greatest percentage of sports fans: 96 percent of that country's adult population tunes in to sports TV. The urban areas of China, Russia and Thailand each have 95 percent of their residents tuning in as well, compared with 91 percent of Americans. In Taiwan and Turkey, however, people are busy doing other things: just 68 percent and 76 percent of those populations, respectively, watch sports on television.

Fútbol, or as we Americans call it, soccer, is the world's favorite TV sport, ranked No.1 by residents of 24 of the 34 countries polled. Perhaps not surprisingly, the men of the world are almost three times as likely to watch the sport as women (32 percent versus 13 percent), while women, globally, are eight times more likely to watch figure skating (8 percent versus 1 percent) than men. But interestingly, baseball, basketball, hockey and golf are all watched almost equally on TV by both men and women around the world.

Ipsos-Reid conducted the study as part of its quarterly omnibus survey, Global Express, and included a random sampling of 500 adults in each of 33 countries, and 1,000 adults in the U.S.

For more information, contact Ipsos-Reid's Melanie Dowe at (415) 274-8921 or visit


Almost 1 in 4 people (22 percent) across 34 countries name soccer as their favorite televised sport. But in the Philippines, basketball wins the most eyeballs: 59 percent of that country's residents.

Brazil* 57% Philippines 59% Japan 45% U.S. 33%
Colombia* 53% Taiwan 20% S. Korea 26% Canada 11%
Saudi Arabia* 52% U.S. 13% Taiwan 12% Mexico* 7%
Overall 22% Overall 8% Overall 8% Overall 7%
*Urban samples only
Source: Ipsos-Reid
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