NFL vs MLB: Detailed Look at Popularity Levels of Both Sports



When it comes to sports in America, Major League and NFL are sports that have developed into exciting events in the regions. Baseball is a very old sport in America and very dependable although slow but still decent. When you compare the two sports, there is a lot of difference even if you wish to be a fan of the two. In Major League history, Baseball is regarded as the best compared to football in many ways. 

Major League Baseball (MLB) 

In recent years, baseball has had some good performance even though it is an old sport in America. There has been a total of 16 consecutive years’ records in gross revenue. This has been possible since when Bud Selig took charge in 1992 and became the commissioner. The revenues have skyrocketed to 377% with a total of $10.3 billion in 2018. With a drop of 4% in attendance in 2108, there was stability in television revenues as the sponsorship went up. There was a new extension of Fox for a period commencing from 2022 up to 2028 which totals up to $5.1 billion. 

The popularity issue with this sport is because of its singular nature. The fans in this sport don’t mind about any other league than the Major League Baseball. There is a plethora of sets of sports leagues in soccer that are happening all over the world and there is world cup arranged for both women and men. Basketball has NCAA tournament for men and women, this is not the case with Baseball. Both Tripple-A baseball and College baseball have a limited fandom attachment. Baseball therefore looks to be isolated from other sports in America and there is a lot of sense when most Americans don’t consider it a favorite sport. 

The sport however remains a mainstream in regard to 2017 data. In comparison to other sports, baseball had the highest attendance, had the second-most active fans and second-most avid fans. It also had the second most television interest, second most television views and second most purchased clothing or apparel with team logos. The major league baseball returns in July with a shortened 60-game season 

National Football League (NFL) 

The national Football League remains to be the king and it is quite hard for Major League Baseball knocking it down yet. Here is how the NFL’s best team is covering the spread away from homeAfter experiencing a decline in the ratings back to back, there was resurgence of the sport in 2018 with a 5% of Television viewership. There was the Sunday Night Football that topped the primetime show for seven consecutive years. This shows that the sport has gained popularity through its viewership for the longest time. 

In terms of revenue, NFL had $13.68 billion revenue contribution which averaged $427 million. This is expected to rise to a total of $25 billion by 2027. The sport has also become popular with the rules being changed, media contracts being negotiated and global reach expansion that has extended to Mexico and London. 

There is also the reintroduction of XFL and the introduction of Alliance of America Football (AAF) which is seen to increase its fandom. The leagues will ensure that the games remain more affordable to be attended and eventually spearheading the NFL attendance and popularity. The leagues are also expected to be development leagues for coaches, players, schemes, businesses and rules. With such things in place, there is an expectation of rapid growth and popularity of NFL sport. 

Baseball can be differentiated from football it is played in the park whereas football is done in stadiums. We are going to look into some of the reasons that puts baseball ahead of football. Here are the differences when we compare the popularity of Major League vs NFL. 



Football has been described to have a lot of unfairness in the game than baseball. In modern world, penalties can decide the outcome of the game. This implies that the referee has control over the game in terms of fate. Unfairness in this game comes when there is an overtime which can result into an immediate loss of a team. One team can possess the ball for longer periods compared to the other team. 

With baseball, there are 27 outs for each team meaning that every participant has an equal chance of participations. Besides, there is no time limit in Baseball as it is the case with football. 


In terms of popularity, football is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the US than baseball. In a recent survey done by Gallup, it was revealed that 37% of most US citizens preferred football as the favorite sport with baseball managing just 9%. In fact basketball was ahead of baseball at 11%. NFL has become the most popular sport in the US since it appeared on Television in 1970s. 


In terms of attendance of baseball vs football, the match is far away between the two sports. Baseball is ahead of football because it happens to have an extended season which eventually draws a lot of fan base to the ballpark. During the 2019 Major League season for example, baseball drew an attendance of 68.5 million. NFL on the other hand has a shorter season and in the same year’s season, it drew a total of 17 million fans in the stadiums. 


When it comes to competition, football has a strict budget for the team, the schedule is very short and playoff field is quite large. This is different with baseball. There is no budget limit per team in baseball and there is a smaller number of participating teams that make it to the playoffs. Some few years back, The Atlantic implied that there was a bigger problem for football teams to get out of trouble as compared to baseball. A statement that was a reflection in teams like Cincinnati, Miami, Detroit, Oakland, Washington and New York Jets. 



With 256 regular season NFL games every year and massive 2,430 MLB matchups every year, it is easier to conclude that baseball should be the sport that streams in a lot of revenue. This is however not the case. 

In the 2017 season for example NFL had a total revenue of $14 billion. This translated to more than $900 million extra than what was experienced in a previous season and had an increase of $6million from 2010. 

On the other hand, MLB managed to make $9.46 billion revenue in the same season. This was a 4.8% increase from the previous season which they had made $9.03 billion in total revenue. With all this comparison, it is yet not clear whether Major League Baseball will gain more popularity than National Football League or not. 

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