For every nation, there is a "national sport." This is the sport that captivates the vast majority of that country’s citizens every time a major tournament rolls around. 

If you’re seeing families gathered around TVs or laptops watching a sporting event and laughing and crying along with the fortunes of their teams, that’s a national sport. 

However, for every national sport, there’s one that’s criminally underrated and that doesn’t get the love it deserves. 

Here are the 10 most underrated sports in the mainstream right now.


While it’s certainly true that cricket has its fair share of fans, we still think this sport is massively underappreciated. After all, cricket is thrilling, but many people write it off as boring or slow. 

Despite this, there’s some searing insight and analysis out there that makes cricket feel exciting. Take Kevin Pietersen’s chat with Betway, for example, in which he describes the way he hopes the upcoming IPL 2022 playoffs play out. 

His understanding of individual players, team strategies, and under-the-radar hopefuls are just as exciting as watching cricket itself!


With most of the sports on this list, there’s a diehard faithful contingent that will always turn out to watch in droves. 

However, we’re talking about the general mainstream appeal, and that’s something rugby has always lacked, especially when compared to football. 

There’s an old adage that goes thus: rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen, and football is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans. 

Watching rugby, it might look violent and chaotic, but there’s a strategy and rhythm to it that you’ll only get with continued viewing.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

There are some MMA fights that deserve to rank up there with the best sporting moments of all time, and yet a lot of people sleep on this exciting discipline. 

While MMA certainly has a huge fanbase, it’s not anywhere near as popular as it should be, largely thanks to the fact that it doesn’t quite have the dramatic heft of WWE or the long history of boxing. 

However, watching MMA fights done right will leave you with an impression that these are athletes at the top of their game.


Just like cricket, golf has garnered an unfair reputation for being slow and tedious. 

The fact is that golf is a much more strategic game than other sports; it doesn’t rely so much on reflexes or motor skills, instead preferring technique and calculation. 

If you know what you’re looking for when you watch golf, it can be a hugely thrilling sport to spectate, but if you go in thinking you’re going to be bored, then you’re likely to get what you put in.

Ice Hockey

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: ice hockey is absolutely huge in Canada. It’s pretty much the Canadian national sport, so if you’re Canadian, you can go ahead and discard this entry. 

However, for the rest of the world, ice hockey is unacceptably niche. It’s a great sport to watch; players gracefully glide around the arena, but they’re also not afraid to get physical with one another when the moment arises. 

If you’ve never seen a game of ice hockey, you’re missing out.

Table Tennis

Many nations around the world go crazy for tennis, but its smaller and less grand cousin is often overlooked for that reason. 

Table tennis is great fun to watch; a round of table tennis can get almost impossible to follow thanks to how frenzied it feels when two experts are playing one another. 

You might think that you can play table tennis to the standard of the greats just by watching them, but one glance at a professional table tennis game will tell you otherwise.


Sometimes, cycling is a popular sport; when major events like the Tour de France roll around, cycling gets reasonable media coverage. 

However, for such a difficult and physically demanding discipline, it doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and neither do its stars. 

Occasionally, controversial celebrities like Lance Armstrong cross over, but for the most part, cycling stars are unassuming people doing a job well, and we think it’s time for them to get more recognition.


Ask most people on the street (again, assuming they aren’t Canadian, given lacrosse is another national sport there) and they’ll tell you they have no idea what the rules of lacrosse are. 

That should speak to just how underrated this sport is. Many have contemplated whether this stick and ball-based sport will ever go mainstream, such is its niche appeal. 

Lacrosse hasn’t been a competitive sport at the Olympics since 1908, so here’s hoping that the Olympic committee changes its mind about that soon.


Just like lacrosse, handball is another sport that most people don’t really understand or take the time to analyze. 

It can be just as hectic and frantic as other sports, though, so it’s a shame that people don’t acknowledge it for the underrated sport that it is. 

Handball might be a foul in football, but as its own sport, it involves players passing the ball between themselves with their hands and attempting to throw it into the opposing team’s goal.


Badminton is so much more than just tennis’ floatier cousin. 

It requires a huge amount of skill and technique to play properly, and yet it always plays second fiddle to tennis; there are arguably no badminton stars as famous as the biggest tennis greats, but there should be. 

This could be because badminton just doesn’t have the audience to secure the kind of funding necessary to elevate it into the big leagues, but this is a cyclical problem; badminton needs more funding to attract more viewers.


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