Category Archives: Sports

The Most Global U.S. Sport

Watching the Olympic hockey tournament and seeing all those NHL players representing countries around the world made me wonder: which professional sport in the US has the highest percentage of foreign-born athletes? Before I reveal the answer, think about this for a minute and see if you can guess the most global U.S. sport.

Here’s a list of the major American professional sports, arranged in order of percentage of non-U.S. born players (most to least):

Sport % Foreign Born Players Source
Hockey (NHL) 80% 2/9/2010 (source)
Soccer (MLS) 33% 4/5/2007 (source)
Baseball (MLS) 28% 4/6/2009 (source)
Basketball (NBA) 19% 12/9/2009 (source)
Football (NFL) 6% 7/30/2007 (source)

According to the table above, the NHL can rightly claim to be America’s “Most Global Sport”, however, including hockey on this list is anomalous in the sense that professional hockey is really more Canada’s sport than ours: 54.2% of NHL players are Canadian!

Why should we care about these statistics? Because we live in an increasingly global world. Every two years the Olympic Games come around and remind us of the phenomenally talented athletes living all over the world. I think it’s nice to see some of our professional sports in the U.S. reflecting that reality.