With the news that the Miami Heat had leapfrogged the Los Angeles Lakers in ESPN‘s latest sports poll, with the LeBron James led NBA Champions jumping three spots in front of the Los Angeles Lakers, it appears that the Forum Purple and Gold squad have lost a little of their luster. Not surprising, when you consider the way Dwight Howard spurs the team for the Houston Rockets and that Kobe Bryant, their superstar and icon, was only able to see the court for six games over LA’s utterly dismal 27-55 season. Winning helps a team’s popularity, while losing hurts it — more at 11.
Anyway, it was interesting to see Miami bound all the way up to No. 6 on the most popular list, as it is, far and away, the most popular NBA team in the league right now (again, winning garners fans). LeBron James might be the most Googled athlete in the country, but his team fails to make much of an impact in the overall standings, when it comes to their popularity. Looks like the United States just isn’t ready for basketball quiet yet. At least, not the people who answer ESPN polls.
Conducted over the last year, the ESPN Poll gathered a whole bunch of data that reinforced what we’d all kind of known already — the NFL, for instance is the most popular sports league in the country, and things of that nature. And, now that we’ve set the scene, here are the top five sports teams, by popularity, in the United States. They are all soccer teams (kidding).