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  • Famously, Association Football, or soccer, as it is known as in the United States and a few other places.Disclaimer  So noteworthy it has its own trope.
    • Far and away the most popular sport in the world, with The World Cup being the most popular international sporting event outside of the Olympic Games, soccer today remains something of a niche sport in America, at least at the professional level. Probably the only place the game is considered popular in America is as a youth or community sport—which may have something to do with the stigma, as it is therefore seen as childish and unsophisticated. Another major reason is that soccer is negatively stereotyped by Americans as a sport associated with the underclass and poverty-stricken, which in the latter case, is considered unfortunately true when looking at most countries in the world who are unable to afford having other sports like basketball, hockey, gridiron football, etc. and so are forced to stick with soccer as their only sport of choice.
      • Professional soccer has a degree of popularity in the American southwest, home to a large number of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from Mexico (whose love of the game is legendary). This is especially true in the Los Angeles area, which did not have an NFL team between 1994 and 2016, allowing MLS to fill the vacuum. Soccer also enjoys a higher-than-average popularity in the Pacific Northwest, where the rivalry between Seattle Sounders FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and the Portland Timbers is one of the big sports rivalries in both MLS and in the region. Now take into account the common stereotypes of the West Coast, and you might understand why people like Ann Coulter believe soccer to be some liberal and/or European plot.
      • One of the few soccer-related things that completely resisted America's typical lack of interest in soccer was the international popularity and reverence for the Brazilian legend Pelé. He's been a household name in the United States since the 1960s and for a long time, he was the only soccer player the average American could name. When Pelé came to America in the mid-70s to play for the New York Cosmos of the ill-fated North American Soccer League, his mere presence effectively saved the league and he packed stadiums wherever he went. Ten million Americans watched his first game for the Cosmos, an impressive television audience for any sporting event in that era.
      • The tendency of many Americans to diss on soccer in international online forums is equally infamous, and usually isn't taken well overseas, although general American opinion regarding the sport is gradually shifting. The World Cup has long attracted decent TV ratings in the States, and the 2014 Cup earned record ratings for ESPN. The fact that America's national men's team has vastly improved also is an important factor to soccer's rise in the country.
      • While World Cup and even professional soccer have become somewhat more mainstream, at this point it's probably stuck in a vicious cycle. Just as the top international baseball, basketball, and hockey players come to play in the U.S. where they can earn the most money, the best U.S. soccer players will go overseas for the same reasons (although some MLS teams have done a good job of holding on to their star players, such as the Sounders with Clint Dempsey after he returned from England). Also, the best athletes tend to already go into the more traditionally popular U.S. sports because they see the wealth and celebrity of the pros. Kids with real talent tend to specialize in specific sports at a much younger age, as well nowadays, so they don't even take the opportunity to play what would at best be #5 in popularity.
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    • It's a completely different story on the other side of the gender divide. Women's soccer in the USA is comparatively very popular as it is traditionally one of the most-played sports by female athletes there,note  and America has one of the most powerful teams in the world – winning four Women's World Cups and Olympic gold medals, and the sport seems to have finally eclipsed the men’s game in popularity by 2019.
    • Although the United States is invariably the country to get flak from Europeans for not liking soccer, the sport is even less popular in Canada (outside the aforementioned Vancouver), where hockey is king (followed by Canadian Football and, of all things, curling). Incidentally, Canadians also call it soccer. This is a mix of a lack of success from the men's team (only making it to one world cup in 1986, and performing laughably bad; at least the United States has improved) and the fact that its three highest-profile professional sides play in the otherwise-American MLS (the current Canadian Premier League only began play in 2019). Another major reason is due to the country's colder climate and harsher weather; because soccer generally doesn't have much in the way of protective equipment when compared to Canadian/American football and hockey, it is practically unsuitable for most of the provinces that try to establish a major professional league. However, like the United States, women's soccer is very popular, seeing more success, and the 2015 Women's World Cup that was held here has definitely improved the popularity of soccer in general in the hockey and (American/Canadian) football loving country. Some even claim that Canadian love for soccer will only grow due to the amount of immigrants and the fact it's easier/cheaper to practice than hockey. Don't tell that to homegrown rank-and-file Canadians, though.
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    • The Philippines is also notable for its lack of enthusiasm for soccer in contrast to other nearby Asian countries. While there has been a surge of popularity in the sport with the help of the Younghusband brothers, the sport has always been seen with low regard due to its perception as an expensive game and perceived difficulty. Lack of major victories from its national team can also explain the lack of popularity of the sport. It does not help that whatever sport Americans likenote  – basketball, baseball, boxing, etc. – Filipinos will end up trying to idolize it.
    • Other countries in East Asia where The Beautiful Game isn't considered the most beautiful: Japan (fanatical about baseball), China (prefers badminton & basketball), Taiwan (baseball & basketball), Indonesia (loves badminton), Malaysia (ditto), and Thailand (native sports).
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    • Soccer is also noticeably less popular in Ireland than in most of Europe, mostly due to competition from Gaelic Football and hurling, which nearly totally dominate domestic games. The explosion in popularity of rugby over time has done it no favours either. Though every country in Europe has a national soccer team, the sport is less popular in colder countries – Russia, the Nordic States (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland), the Alpine states (Austria, Switzerland), etc. – where winter sports get more attention.
    • Another European country where soccer isn't the most popular sport is Lithuania, where basketball is at least as much of a national obsession as (ice) hockey is in Canada.
    • Soccer is also quite unpopular in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka), where cricket is king.note  Most other sports are relatively unpopular or don't have the crazy fan following of cricket, largely due to hardcore marketing activity in favour of it. In urban areas, though, soccer has plenty of fans, and in a few states there is a long-running soccer infrastructure. American sports, on the other hand, are not so popular, except basketball.
    • Oceania as a whole isn't big on soccer either (yes, they also call the sport that; it's not just an American thing, folks). New Zealand likes rugby, as does Papua New Guinea. Half of Australia prefers Australian Rules Football, the other half prefers rugby or cricket – it's a regional thing, see below.
    • Soccer is also curiously unpopular (or at least less popular than on the mainlands) in Caribbean countries. For instance, most of the former British West Indies – Barbados, Jamaicanote , Guyana, etc. – prefer cricket or rugby; Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela love baseball; Panama loves basketball.
    • In Nicaragua, soccer has traditionally been second to Baseballnote  (or as the locals call it, béisbol), which is not to say that it does not enjoy huge popularity as well. Part of the reason for the lack of popularity is the Butt-Monkey status the national team has enjoyed for most of its existence, whereas the baseball team is pretty good for a country of its size and has produced quite a few successful major leaguers (the national stadium is named after one). On the Caribbean Coast (which in many ways is a country unto its own) soccer is third after Baseball and Basketball. In a similar vein as American soccer fans, most Nicaraguan soccer fans are either fans of Barça or Real Madrid and the Clásico between the two is a national event despite no Nicaraguan ever participating.
  • American Football is only really popular in the United States and its neighboring countries. Canada plays a local variation called Canadian football with its own league and rules (similar to, but distinct from, the US's), and Mexico has a few collegiate leagues and a sizable fandom for the Dallas Cowboys (the only team whose games are consistently available on Mexican television), but didn't launch a professional league until 2016. Outside North America, while there are pockets of popularity in Europenote , it is even more niche a sport than soccer is in the U.S.; an attempt by the NFL to form a European American football league, NFL Europa, was shut down in 2007 by incoming commissioner Roger Goodell who viewed it (at the time all but one team was playing in Germany and the only non-German team played in Amsterdam) as a colossal waste of time and money and replaced it with the London games. However, in a major case of Germans Love David Hasselhoff, the sport enjoys solid, if not huge popularity in Mexico, Japan, Germany and - of all places - Austria. The Super Bowl is carried in Free TV stations even though kickoff is somewhere beyond midnight and ratings are decent. German free TV has started carrying two games every Sunday beginning with the 2015 season to decent ratings. However, the attitude people have to American Football is very often influenced by the attitude those people have towards the USA in general.
    • Professional football has a respectable fandom in Canada both with its native Canadian Football League and Canadian NFL fans. However, Canadians don't generally share Americans' nearly religious obsession with Collegiate American Football, much less varsity high school football. While American pop culture is rife with stories and characters featuring both high school and college football, they don't really exist in a Canadian culture that's much more likely to focus on hockey.
  • In the United States, speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno is thought of as a national hero, the USA's most decorated winter Olympian ever, and one hell of a dancer. However, in South Korea the Japanese-American champion is one of, if not the, most hated athletes in the nation and nicknamed "The King of Fouls". It started after the 2002 Salt Lake City games when he won a gold medal after Korean skater Kim Dong-Sung was disqualified for blocking him, and he happily celebrated afterward. There were massive protests against the United States after he won (though US servicemen accidentally killing a couple of Korean schoolgirls probably also had something to do with that) and the United States embassy had to be closed the next day because of threats against them. They thought what Apolo did was worse than a potential war. The first verse of Yoon Min-Suk's hit song "Fucking USA" was all about Ohno (the rest was about Bush threatening North Korea), toilet paper with Ohno's picture on it sold like hotcakes, and somebody released a game where you could shoot expys of Ohno. During the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the South Korean team scored on the U.S. team and re-enacted Ohno's "bump" as a part of their celebration. South Korea erupted in laughter. America's basic reaction was one of confusion at what South Koreans were even laughing at.

    It got so bad that, a year after he won, not only Ohno but the entire US speed skating team did not enter the nation due to death threats – and after that, he only entered the country while surrounded by armed guards. In South Korea, "Ohnolike" has entered the lexicon as meaning "dirty trick". The hatred against Ohno swelled up again during the 2010 Vancouver games after two Korean skaters took each other out and Ohno won silver, though by the end of the games it was the Australian embassy that was being shut down because of death threats because of a controversial decision to disqualify the women's relay team made by Aussie referee Jim Hewish, who just happens to be the same judge that disqualified Dong-Sung in 2002 giving Ohno his first gold.
    • Then there's Korea's close tracking of figure skater Kim Yuna and the manufactured rivalry with Asada Mao, a Japanese competitor who she beat on the way to winning the 2009 Grand Prix. When she set a new record, Korean media just had to mention that Asada's score was pretty unimpressive.
    • Anybody, regardless of sport, either Japanese or having Japanese ancestry, is bound to be HATED in South Korea, due to very strong anti-Japanese sentiment that exists to this day, thus explaining the hatred of the two above.note  The exact opposite comes true as well, due to Japan also having a very strong anti-Korean sentiment that also exists to this day.
  • Traditionally, Ice Hockey is only popular in Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the northern U.S., with those eight countries producing the most NHL players, and winning the most hockey medals in the winter Olympics. The obvious reason is because it's traditionally a winter sport. Attempts to spread it outside of those regions have not had much success. The National Hockey League, for instance, added or relocated a number of teams to the Southern United States, with mixed results.note 
    • Additionally, the physicality of ice hockey can be shocking to spectators used to low-contact sports. Fighting is technically against the rules, but the definition of a fight is somewhat loosenote , and many players break the rules anyway and accept the penalty. Moreover, in North American professional leagues (the NHL and its feeders), the penalty itself is also weaker than in most other sports. In any other sport (and, to be fair, European professional and North American college hockey), players involved in a punch-up would be ejected from the game, but in North American pro hockey, players fighting just get five minutes in the penalty box (the famous "five for fighting").note  Many hockey fans, meanwhile, enjoy a certain amount of on-ice violence and see it as part of the culture, with less-aggressive players like the Sedin twins sometimes being derided as less masculine. These fans are sometimes puzzled by how, during a soccer game, a player will fall down and scream because an opponent lightly touched them.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with the St. Louis Blues. Missouri is right on the dividing line between the the region of the U.S. where hockey is popular, and where it isn't. In the northern half of Missouri, the team is popular and among the top ten in attendance nearly every year, while in the southern half of the state, they get less coverage than high school basketball and their popularity is limited to only a handful of towns. Meanwhile, in Canada hockey is a year-round major news source, eclipsing not just all other sports combined but also politics, religion, and the arts.
    • While we're on the topic of hockey, it's infamously unpopular with Black Americans, even in the North, compared to say, basketball, football, and baseball, something which a number of black stand-up comics have noted. note  This is also true with NHL players, of whom few are black, and most of those come from Canada's much smaller Black minority (about 3% of Canadians are Black, while about 12% of Americans are... also keep in mind that the US has nine times Canada's population, meaning that Canadians of all backgrounds are outnumbered by African Americans). While the two facts are almost certainly related, it's unclear whether the game has fewer black fans because it has fewer black players, or the other way around. Which is amusingly ironic in the case of American football, since the sport itself also happens to be a winter sport (the season starts in the autumn and ends in mid-winter) and yet there's a large amount of black players in the league. However, it must be noted that a disproportionate percentage of top black American football players grow up in states with generally mild winters (mostly the South and California).
      • Some have accused the NHL of either deliberately playing up the Unfortunate Implications of its demographics compared to the NBA (which is well known as being popular among African Americans) or being unable or unwilling to cater to a more diverse fanbase.
      • While football is a fall/winter sport, nothing about it is specifically related to any season the way ice hockey is. In warm months and regions it can only be played in a rink which costs money. Playing on inline skates is similar, but not the same. Football only requires a ball and an open area. Basketball, which was specifically invented to give athletes something to do during the winter, only requires a ball and a hoop. Schoolyards and parks have those and are open to the public free of charge. Football and basketball are played near the start of the school year and are played on school grounds making them social events for even the non-players. Most schools can't accommodate a hockey rink and those that do have a team must rent rink space elsewhere.
  • NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) is easily one of the most popular forms of auto racing (CART used to be one of the top until the CART/IRL split) in the United States, and if you consider it a sport its popularity is up there with the NFL. While it has fans from other countries in North America, it has a niche fanbase in the rest of the world at best, because even in the US it's often considered a "redneck" sport (detractors often using terms like "Non-Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks"). In the Prohibition era, people would occasionally set up races between each other to see who had the better car set-up for transporting moonshine, which eventually evolved into NASCAR. It was invented by people considered to be "hillbillies" or "rednecks", and the majority of its drivers also tend to qualify under such names.
  • Conversely, Formula One is often coined as the "Pinnacle of Motorsport" and is up there with the FIFA World Cup in popularity in most of the world. In the U.S., however, it has little love, hence the United States Grand Prix has been an on-and-off deal. One of the turn-offs in F1 to most American racing fans is the difficulty in passing, which is something that happens a lot in NASCAR and CART/IRL (then again, passing is easy on oval tracks, which F1 cars never race on). This is deemed by most American racing fans to make Formula One races much less exciting.
    • It doesn't help that because of time zones, most races are on only in the early morning in the U.S.
    • Another difference is that Formula One has fewer limits on the equipment, and in many ways is considered a showcase of technology, resulting in a larger gap between the top teams and bottom teams, whereas the major U.S. auto racing series have more limits on the cars and the engines in an attempt to make the driver a bigger factor.
  • Likewise, another sport that is governed by the FIA, namely rallying, is followed by a great portion of the world except the United States. One might think that a car careening at full speed through rural areas, Tokyo-Drifting through half the trek would attract attention to speed junkies everywhere, especially since there is no discernible alternative in the U.S. at all. Hell, even Ford has a great team that competes every year!note  One possible explanation is that street racing displaced rallying in the culture, which is functionally very similar to rallying, but with the added bonus of it being a Forbidden Fruit by it being illegal and the cops going to great measures to stop the racers and organizers. Another possible reason is that the idea of what is effectively a time trial doesn't seem to be as readily appealing as a head-to-head race where drivers compete against each other directly as opposed to beating each other's stage times. Perhaps the reason why rallying did garner attention in the States was that of the likes of Ken Block and his Gymkhana videos done on rally cars, though his World Rally Championship record is seen by rally enthusiasts as spotty at best.
  • Men's lacrosse is only really popular in the United States and Canada, which is fitting as it was created by Native Americans, and even then it is very regional, being mostly popular in the northeastern states and Quebec (although as of the 2010s it has become the fastest-growing high school sport). In the UK, it's thought of as a girls' school sport, albeit a brutal one – see the St. Trinians cartoons/films. Lacrosse is also almost solely a girls' sport in Japan, where it's currently experiencing a surge in popularity, especially the box version of the game in the hockey-mad Upper Midwestern USA. Even in the United States, lacrosse is mostly associated with rich East Coast prep school kids, and isn't played much by poorer people.
  • Curling is big in Canada (where even the smallest town usually has a curling rink), but not so much in the rest of the world, which wonders what the heck those people are doing with brooms on the ice. Curling is known in Scotland (being that's where the sport was invented) and isn't viewed as peculiar and unusual as it is elsewhere in the world, but its popularity is not nearly as big as it is in Canada. That being said, it does score big ratings during the Olympics, probably because it's the only native Scottish Winter Olympic sport... and for the longest time was the only distinctively Scottish Olympic sport in general (shot put, hammer throw, and rugby sevens, although originating in Scotland, aren't distinctively Scottish, and golf spent 112 years outside the Olympic program). In the Northern U.S., where winter sports like hockey, cross country skiing and tobogganing are considered traditions, curling is seen at best as a winter activity akin to horseshoes and bocce ball. Oddly enough, curling is also developing a following in Washington, DC.
  • Baseball is popular in its North American homeland, as well as in nearby countries heavily influenced by the United States – Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, parts of Central America, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, a few islands in the Pacific – and almost nowhere else, although there are also professional leagues in Australia, Italy and the Netherlands (who have had great results in international play because of the fact that players from the leftover Dutch Caribbean holdings are eligible to play for them). Europeans in particular find it as incomprehensible as Americans find cricket, despite both sports sharing a common ancestor. There's even a British variant of baseball but is only popular in Wales and England, and even then it is regional and tends to be overshadowed by association football.
  • Even within sports, different teams/individuals can have differing reputations from country to country. Diego Maradona, for example, is idolized in his native Argentina and is a byword throughout the rest of the world for a supremely skilled individual. Except in England, where, due to the infamous "Hand of God" goal, the word "Maradona" is synonymous with "dirty cheat".note 
    • When playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby is very popular among the hometown fans, as is expected for a team's star player. When it comes to international hockey, though, every American hockey fan hates his guts because of his gold medal-winning goal for Canada against the United States at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. It was such that after those Olympics, some fans of the Detroit Red Wings, one of the Penguins' biggest rivals,note  created a Facebook page titled "Now ALL of America hates Crosby!"
      • He's also generally derided by fans of every other team in the league for being a weeny about physical play. Nicknames like "Cindy Crysby" and "The Holy Diver" (regarding his alleged protected status by league officials AND his tendency to embellish every bit of contact) abound. Somewhat amusingly, this was basically the exact same split in opinion between hometown marks and opposing fans that the Penguins' current owner, Mario "Mary" Lemieux, inspired when he was their star player. He also gets booed loudly every time he touches the puck in Philadelphia.
    • Similar to Crosby, there's Corey Perry, centerpiece for the Anaheim Ducks and is incredibly popular among their fans. While his line partner (and Blue Oni to his red) Ryan Getzlaf is one of the most well-respected players in the league and almost everyone agrees he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer, Perry is... not. Perry has been known to go out of his way to rile up the opposition, including antics with other players' sticks, lashing out at the other team's bench when they wouldn't help him get his stick back, getting up to no good with his water bottle, sparking line brawls and going at it with an opposing team's coach.
    • Italian footballer Paolo Rossi was the hero of the 1982 World Cup championship... and absolutely loathed in Brazil, as he scored all three goals in the game that eliminated the best Brazilian team in years (when Rossi visited São Paulo, once a taxi driver recognized him he kicked Rossi out of his car).
    • French footballer Thierry Henry falls into a similar conundrum to Maradona. While he's well respected in England and his native France, he ended up becoming hated in Ireland for handling the ball in the run up to scoring the goal that kept their team out of the 2010 World Cup.
    • Dutch footballer Arjen Robben is regarded as one of the best players of his generation and one of the best wingers in the world. In Mexico, he is hated for his dive in the Mexico vs Netherlands Round of 16 match-up in the 2014 World Cup that led to the penalty that eliminated Mexico. This lead to the “No Era Penal” meme. Needless to say, many Mexicans cried karma when The Netherlands failed to qualify for the next World Cup, thus ending Arjen Robben's international football.
    • Uruguayan footballer Luis Suárez falls even harder than Henry, as he is very much loved and respected in Uruguay and in Liverpool F.C. and admired everywhere as a gifted striker, but he will be forever marred everywhere else and in every other team in the Premier League for his unsportsmanlike behavior on the pitch, his brutal tackles and his penchant for biting rival players. His country's appeals to reduce his ban of four months from anything football after a biting incident at the World Cup were crushed by FIFA.
    • The dominant team in any given sport and country tends to attract both a rather big fandom (including of course the obligatory bandwagon fans and Fan Dumb) as well as a rather big hatedom, the latter of which will often point out real or perceived flaws, cheating and extreme Loophole Abuse. While some international fanbases copy both, in most cases only the fandom aspects are copied. The ratio of e.g. Real Madrid fans to Real Madrid haters will be much more tilted towards the fans outside of Spain than inside it. This is mostly because many people that follow sports have an attitude like "I support my team and whoever plays against Rival X" and sports fanbases are much more diverse in the country the league is in than elsewhere - good luck finding a fan of Rayo Vallecano outside of Spain, or one of the Cleveland Browns in... well, anywhere.
    • "Local boy made it big" type players tend to be more popular in the place they are from, while they may draw blank stares and a big "who?" elsewhere. Ever heard of Markus Kuhn, Sebastian Vollmer or Moritz Böhringer? No? Well every German American Football fan can tell you who they are and where they play.note  Same goes for Dennis Martínez, a good but not all-time-great major league pitcher after whom Nicaragua's national stadium is named, who will draw a lot of "who?" from most Americans, except for the most dedicated baseball nerds. Bizarrely, the opposite can happen if a player is/was great on the field but did things that are considered Serious Business and/or has a bit of Stop Being Stereotypical going on. Lothar Matthäus is undoubtedly one of the greatest defenders/midfielders of his era and was among the architects of the 1990 world cup triumph for Germany, but his native Franconia mainly ridicules him for his Up to Eleven accent and inability to speak English and they let him Never Live It Down that he went to Bayern München, which is basically seen as a devil incarnate by most fans of other teams (mostly Nuremberg in the case of Franconia). Bavaria (which Bayern München invokes in its name) being the not well liked "colonial overlords" boring politics  of Franconia does not help the sports rivalry one bit.
    • Salvatore Schillaci managed to escape this. In the 1990 World Cup, he scored the goal that knocked Ireland out of the quarter finals. However, his later Adam Westing of the situation later endeared him somewhat to the Irish.
  • In Sri Lanka, Muttiah Muralitharan is the greatest spin bowler in the history of Cricket. In Australia, he's a cheating chucker who stole Shane Warne's Test wicket record. The rest of the world just doesn't care. note 
  • In the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, when the St. John's Maple Leafs hockey team of the American Hockey League (AHL), the farm team of the Toronto Maple Leafs, moved to Toronto in 2005 as its sister team the Toronto Marlies, St. John's got a replacement hockey team in the form of the St. John's Fog Devils, an expansion team of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL, otherwise known for short as "The Q"). Although its first season had decent ticket sales, the Fog Devils did poorly in its overall gameplay record, and actually lost money in its second season, to the point where the QMJHL franchise was sold to Montreal businessman Farrell Miller in 2008, who renamed the team the Montreal Junior Hockey Club. It was sold a second time in 2011 to a group led by former NHL defenseman Joel Bouchard, who moved the team to the northern Montreal suburb of Boisbriand, where it became renamed the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. It's been speculated that the move of the Fog Devils may have happened because, while the Maple Leafs were a fairly popular AHL team for 14 seasons (1991–2005), the QMJHL, despite having a strong presence in Atlantic Canada since 1994 (when the Halifax Mooseheads were first introduced), the QMJHL may not have been looked as much positively in Newfoundlanders and Labradorians' eyes. As a result, Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province in Canada without a team in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL, which the QMJHL is one of three leagues it's part of), and it was the only province without a professional ice hockey team until 2011, when the AHL returned to St. John's through the move of Winnipeg's AHL team, the Manitoba Moose, which became the St. John's IceCaps, the farm team of the new Winnipeg Jets. In 2015, the IceCaps were moved to Winnipeg to become the current version of the Manitoba Moose, but a deal was worked out in which the Montreal Canadiens relocated their top farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs, to St. John's to take up the IceCaps identity. However, this was destined to be a temporary arrangement, lasting only as long as it took for the Montreal suburb of Laval to build a new arena. With Place Bell opening in 2017, the province was once again without a pro hockey team, with the IceCaps becoming the Laval Rocket. Pro hockey returned to the province in 2018–19 in the form of the St. John's-based Newfoundland Growlers in the third-level ECHL.
  • Curiously, Australian Rules Football is not popular everywhere in Australia. While it is huge in South Australia, West Australia, Tasmania, and practically the state religion in Victoria – where the game began and where the national league is headquartered – it has traditionally been unpopular in New South Wales and Queensland. Which is why the AFL has spent most of the last two decades moving teams from Victoria to those states, or just starting new ones entirely. Some of the gap has been made up, but the national game still isn't that national - New South Wales and Queensland still tend to prefer rugby league.
  • Rugby and Cricket are very popular throughout many former British territories (especially South Asia), but are far less popular in the United States and Canada, where the latter sport is considered a curiosity at best. Unlike cricket, many Americans at least know what rugby is, even if they've never played it or seen it played (perception = "football without the pads or timeouts"). It has a fair degree of popularity on college campuses and in some high schools as an intramural sport. There was also a brief vogue for varsity rugby at some California universities in the years before World War I. Cricket is also not very popular in Ireland despite having one of the oldest national teams in the world (founded 1855, and had not gained Test status until 2018), mostly because it was seen as a sport for upper class Anglophiles and fell out of favour in an increasingly nationalist Ireland in the late 19th century (in fact, until the 1970s, the Gaelic Athletic Association banned anyone who played cricket from playing the more popular sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling). When the Irish team beat cricket giant Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup, the general public reaction in Ireland was one of surprise that the country even had a cricket team.
  • Drop goals, one of the ways teams can score points in Rugby Union, is unpopular in New Zealand. Fans see it as a boring cop-out, and their national team doesn't use it very often. In fact, their lack of good drop goal kickers was a factor in their elimination from two World Cups, both of which they entered as favourites. Their extra-time loss in the 1995 final came after a missed drop goal attempt from Andrew Mehrtens, and in the last 10 minutes of their 2007 quarterfinal, they were camped in French territory but unable to score.
  • Christian Laettner was a phenomenal basketball player for Duke, and played for the NBA and other international basketball teams. In college basketball, he was voted the most hated player in NCAA. His dislike is well apparent in Lexington, Kentucky where resentment towards him because of a game-winning shot against the Kentucky Wildcats in the 1992 NCAA Basketball Tournament remains to this day.Context 
  • Good luck trying to find Robert Horry fans in Sacramento, because he was public enemy number one in that city after the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals. He scored a clutch game-ending shot for the Los Angeles Lakers which contributed to the Sacramento Kings' collapse against their division rivals. Because of his late-game heroics, he was booed loudly whenever he touched the ball or taking free throws when he visited Sacramento, regardless of which team he played for until his retirement in 2008.
  • Tenpin bowling has been making inroads outside the United States, though it's still the most popular there. Other variants are popular only in narrow areas: Five-pin in Canada, candlepin in New England and eastern Canada, duckpin in the eastern US (and the variant with rubber bands around the pins in Quebec), and ninepin in Texas's Hill Country (brought over by German immigrants in the 19th century). Note that 9-pin bowling, the standard form in Europe, was banned in most of the USA (Texas was the exception) prior to the Civil War due to Moral Guardians associating it with debauchery and organized crime, and 10-pin was created to get around the ban.
  • Certain mechanics of a sport which are if not beloved than at least accepted elsewhere can be a Berserk Button for both fans and haters of a sport in certain countries. You will hardly find any person in the US who knows the first thing about soccer who doesn't complain about flopping, for instance. American Football is often hated for its use of more protective gear than Rugby and its frequent and (comparatively) long intermissions in play. So much so, that the German Football League note  has cut down on the intermissions as much as possible to make the sport more palatable to German viewers. Also the GFL knows no regular season overtime and a draw or two per season is normal, mostly because Germans are not as draw-averse as Americans tend to be.
  • Which cue sports are most popular varies geographically.
    • In Britain and many other former British colonies, snooker, which developed in British-ruled India, is the most popular of cue sports, and is a really big deal in terms of money in the sport, while 8-Ball pool is a casual barroom game played on small tables. Conversely, in the U.S., 8-Ball, 9-Ball and straight pool are the most popular (and the last isn't as popular as it once was), and 10-Ball is becoming increasingly popular among professionals, while snooker is practically unknown. (And the British and American versions of 8-Ball are actually different rulesets, too, with the U.K. version also known as blackball.) Carom billiards (the pocketless variety) is more popular in France and other French-speaking countries, while English pocket billiards, which is essentially a hybrid created by playing carom on a snooker table, has its fans in the UK and some other English-speaking countries.
    • In Germany carom used to be the most popular "elite" type of cue sports for a long time, while eight ball pool enjoyed a popularity as an amateur sport (albeit with Bad Guys Play Pool stereotypes associated with it). However, the rather successful Eurosport telecasts of most major snooker tournaments have lead to a small "boom" of snooker, and it is now much easier to find a snooker table and people who know who Ronnie O'Sullivan is. 8 Ball Pool is still more commonly found because the smaller tables are cheaper, but snooker has the benefit of not being associated in public consciousness with dingy smoky bars in the bad part of town. Carrom meanwhile is almost entirely unheard of.
  • (Most) Americans hate draws simply because of its inherent "nobody wins" concept. That's why there is overtime in the NFL regular season when the score is tied after regulation. The same goes for the NHL (which prior to 2006 did have ties if the draw remained, but then added a shootout) and the NBA. Many commentators say this may be a factor in the trope of Soccer-Hating Americans.
  • Americans seem to dislike "league" systems without playoffs (like the first round of The World Cup or the way most European soccer leagues determine their champion). Even Major League Soccer has a Playoff style format.
  • Handball is the number one or at the very least close number two sport in large parts of Central Europe, the Balkans, the Nordic countries (including Iceland and Greenland) and some Eastern European countries. It also has a following in South Korea and Brazil, who have even won the World Championship. In most of the rest of the world handball is known as "the who with the what now?" Some Americans may even think of an entirely different (and still obscure) sport when hearing the name.
  • MLB's World Baseball Classic (a baseball version of The World Cup) has generally been met with apathy by the United States. Several of the top American players decline to participate since it clashes with spring training, resulting in the US team performing rather poorly until they won the the 2017 editionnote . Meanwhile, only the most passionate fans attend the event or watch it on TV while the rest of the country tunes into March Madness and the NBA and NHL's playoff pushes. The Caribbean and Asian countries on the other hand treat the event as just as important as the World Cup. Their teams have no problem getting their top stars to play and the fans show up to their games in droves while those watching back home set ratings records. For small but nonetheless fierce Baseball nations like Nicaragua even the qualification stage is Serious Business as it is pretty much the only sport where they can even hope to compete on the world stage.
    • Part of the issue is that Americans can see all of the top players from these other countries in MLB games during the regular season where the teams are not being filled out with less talented players who struggle to make MLB rosters. Also many of them view the WBC as both a marketing gimmick and somewhat fraudulent in the sense that many of the teams from nations that don't traditionally play the sport (Italy, the Netherlands, Israel, etc.) get filled out with American players who have ancestry in those nations (or in Israel's case, any player who is Jewish), but no direct ties whatsoever. Therefore, many fans see the participation of those teams as a desperate ploy by MLB to "grow" the sport in these countries.
  • Japan as a whole only likes baseball, soccer, sumo wrestling, and professional wrestling. Volleyball has some of a following (the quadrennial FIVB World Cup has been hosted only in Japan since 1977, and the sport entered the Olympic program in Tokyo-64), helped by school/corporate teams and the country winning men's and women's Olympic golds. It is not really big on the other rough-and-tumble sports like basketball, gridiron football (American/Canadian football), etc. Two main reasons why: 1) the average height of the Japanese citizen is rather short (today, about 172 cm or 5 ft., 7.5 in. for men, and about 158 cm/5'2" for womennote , with Japanese only reaching those averages since roughly 1985) and 2) due to cultural reasons, Japan isn't into the stereotype of "big, muscular men and women" that is favored in the West (especially in the U.S., although this is somewhat ironic in Japan's love of pro wrestling, since the sport actually favors muscular builds in certain types of wrestlers). While the existence of Japanese athletes who actually participate in those particular sports isn't unheard of, good luck trying to mention any rank-and-file athlete from Japan who do because they're a rarity.
  • For all their tradition and reputation as the hotspot for world soccer, Europe doesn't look too highly on the FIFA Club World Cup, seeing the UEFA Champions League as the world's top club competition instead. It's not difficult to see why: while the CWC congregates the champions of each continent, it's a short tournament in which teams of wildly varying strengths are brought together, with only the South American representative consistently offering a challenge (while there's been upsets before, they never affected the European clubs, who always made it to the final; and whenever they played a non-South American team, they won); plus, it's usually held in December and hosted far from Europe (traditionally in Japan and the Middle East; the closest to Europe that the tournament has ever been held is Morocco) which, for the European teams, means one week or two playing the league with the reserve team, which is sometimes crucial as it is during this time that league placement is usually defined. On the other hand, the UCL is a season-long tournament, played in a home-and-away system except for the final (which is held at the very end of the regular season), meaning teams don't have to worry much about traveling or having their key players absent for important league/cup matches; plus many participants are on par in skill levels and, with the Round of 16 (at which point only the best clubs that season remain) and quarter-final playoffs and semi-finals being defined by drawing of lots, all bets that a determined team might have an easy path to the final are off.


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