Is Soccer Better Than Basketball? (Deep Comparaison!)

is soccer better than basketball

Hey Basketball fans, please don’t hate on me after reading this article! I am still a huge basketball fan, yet I lean a little bit more towards soccer …

… In this article I will share an objective comparison between those 2 wonderful sports!

Is soccer better than basketball?

This depends on your background and your preferences!

In other words, Soccer is a game with 90 minutes of continuous action (except for halftime). Basketball is a game with many pauses, stoppages, and timeouts. So, if you prefers continuous action, than soccer would sound better for you, otherwise that would be the other way around.

Also, in basketball there is a lot more scoring, but it means that each point is worth much less than a goal in soccer. This is another data point that will determine what you would consider to be best.

Finally, the odds of a game coming down to the final minute are much greater in soccer, as there are fewer possible score combinations and therefore a higher percentage of possible score lines that can change a result at the last second. If that idea of final minute complete scoring change sounds great for you, then you would definitely prefer soccer over basketball.

BTW, I strongly encourage you to learn about these important soccer benefits!

Soccer vs Basketball (The Difference)

1. Popularity

Important Side Note: If you are a soccer beginner or amateur and would like to improve your soccer skills, then I strongly recommend to use soccer shoes with decent Quality  and reliable Grip to perform at the best of your abilities. You can have a quick look at these quality soccer cleats to get an idea!

Both soccer and basketball have huge, global followings. However, soccer is still king of the globe in terms of popularity and participation.

It has billions of fans that are spread around the earth, with some regions of the world hosting a higher popularity for soccer than others. For example, soccer’s popularity is strongest in Europe, South America, and Africa. Asia and North America tend to have pockets where the game is extremely popular, but also have other popular sports.

Basketball enjoys immense popularity in North America, China, and Eastern and South Europe.

And within different regions of the globe exist enclaves where a different sport enjoys a level of popularity unseen among its neighbors.

For example, soccer is more popular in the Northwestern US than it is in the rest of the US and Canada. Lithuania has a basketball culture unseen in other European countries, and China has seen the sport skyrocket in popularity this century.

On the flip side, soccer is less significant in Venezuela than it is elsewhere in Latin America, largely because another sport—baseball—is the de facto national sport. Other parts of the world where soccer has room to grow include South Asia, with a large population that currently owes their allegiance to cricket.

2. History

Soccer can be traced back to ancient civilizations, which all had some forms of games where the objective was to get an object or ball past a player on the opposing team and into another object or net. However, it was the English that formally wrote the first standardized rules for the game in the Victorian Era. At was at this point when soccer became distinctly different than its counterpart, rugby.

Great Britain therefore claims a fatherly role in the game’s development. Not unlike other forms of Anglo culture, the UK used it empire to spread its language, systems of law, and of course soccer.

The British came up with the concept of professional clubs and matches with payed attendance in the late 19th century, with the sport spreading and growing in other parts of Europe and the world.

The game was popular throughout Europe by the turn of the 20th century, and FIFA was established by a number of western European nations in 1904. The British did not join the association right away because they saw their version of the game to be on a superior moral level.

The World Cup was first played in Uruguay in 1930 and continues to be played every four years. Competitions at both the domestic and international levels have become highly organized and prestigious, with the UEFA Champions League, the Copa Libertadores, and the FIFA Club World Cup also taking on significant prevalence. In the 1990s, a World Cup for women was founded, and continues to be played quadannually.

Basketball, meanwhile, has a much shorter and simpler history. The sport did not evolve over centuries like soccer did. James Naismith invented the game for his Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA physical education class in 1891 as a game that could be played in the winter months.

Still, the game today is unmistakable from the one first played. Rims with nets bookend the court, rather than homemade peach baskets. Players can dribble up and down the court, rather than not being able to do anything with the ball except pass and shoot.

YMCAs worldwide began to sponsor the game, and soon, the world caught on. Basketball became an Olympic sport in 1936.

The NBA and ABA became major basketball leagues in North America and merged in 1976, forming the modern NBA. Today, the NBA is the largest and most prestigious league on earth, with other quality leagues present in Europe and Asia. The Olympics and the FIBA World Cup are the top international competitions.

3. Which one is Harder?

Soccer and basketball are both sports that rely on skill and athleticism. Basic physical fitness traits such as running speed and endurance are instrumental to personal success in either sport, regardless of level of play.

The biggest difference between the sports is that in basketball, bigger and taller players are at an advantage, especially those who are taller.

In soccer, size is less relevant. In fact, height is often a disadvantage in soccer, as the foot sport rewards players with a lower center of gravity. This is why for an individual like Lionel Messi, soccer is a better fit than basketball.

Neither sport is easy, and each individual is likely better suited for one sport or another. The taller the athlete, the better basketball may be for him or her. Those that are better with their arms or feet may also have an easier time picking one sport over the other. But neither are easy.

4. Entry Cost

Both basketball and soccer benefit from being accessible to all, regardless of your income.

Soccer only requires a ball to kick with and two pairs of objects to form the goal lines. Basketball can often be played with only a ball and a public part with a hoop.

Both developing countries and poorer, inner city neighborhoods have been associated with each sport, in large part due to the low cost of both soccer and basketball.

However, playing the game at the elite level can be expensive for non-professionals and older youth. In the US, travel clubs will compete in tournaments across the country, and have high participation, equipment, and travel costs.

This is a barrier for many people in America to compete at a high level and showcase their talents in a number of sports.

5. Rules

Basketball’s rules are relatively straightforward. Get the ball into the hoop, and earn two or three points, depending on how far the shot is taken from. There are also free throws that are awarded if a player is fouled while taking a shot.

Some other rule complexities include the foul bonus, the one-and-one, and intentional fouling late in close games.

Soccer, however, is simple to the point of reaching out to all people in the world, without having a complex set of rules to impede potential fandom. It’s one of the reasons the game is so popular globally.

With the object of the game being so simple, nobody chooses not to follow the sport because they don’t understand the rules, unlike what is sometimes seen in American football circles.

Once a person understands the offside rules and set pieces, they’ll be ready to enthusiastically support their local club.

6. Tactics & Strategies

In basketball, coaches will either use a man-to-man or zone defense, with both types of defenses offering both advantages and disadvantages depending on personnel.

On offense, coaches will either use a motion offense letting his or her players create their own scoring opportunities or run a set play that uses predetermined motion in order to try and score.

Soccer is a lot more subjective in terms of strategy. It requires a lot of innovation and split-second creativity from both players and coaches.

Most teams will have a formation that fields some combination of 10 defenders, midfielders and attackers, but those positions are often fluid over the course of a match.

7. Excitement

This answer is also subjective, because fans of a particular sport are biased toward their own favorite game.

However, if you like lots of scoring, then basketball may be a better fit. On the flip side, the lack of scoring in soccer means that each goal is much more pivotal, and that close results that come down to the absolute final whistle are more common.

8. Money to Make

Both soccer and basketball stars make huge sums of money. The highest paid team sport athletes right now though, are in soccer, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar at the top of the table.

Those three each represent gigantic brands that are almost as big of the sport itself, and earn upwards of $100 million in both salary and endorsements.

Basketball stars makes nearly as much, commanding nearly as big of brands as soccer stars and making anywhere from $50-100 million.

The average player’s salary though is obviously much more modest. It’s hard to answer which sport sees its average athletes paid more, because there are a wide variety of professional leagues globally, with mixed prominence.

In general however, American sports leagues pay their athletes less than European counterparts, due to salary caps commonplace in North America.

9. Contact

Soccer tends to have more contact than basketball, although both will have some physicality. The most contact that will occur in soccer is when sliding tackles are attempted, with players encouraged to wear shin guards for protection.

On the flip side, basketball players don’t wear any padding, but also have more rules against contact protecting them.

Scrambling for rebounds tends to be the most intense part of basketball.

Final Thoughts …

Finally, it depends on a person’s preference. If scoring is your thing, that person will like basketball better.

But soccer is unique because of how important each goal is, as well as the fact that the action is nonstop for 90 minutes.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that soccer is more recommended in general for kids than basketball … you can check these reasons why kids should actually practice soccer!

Claressa Cormier

Claressa Cormier has over 15 years of soccer experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest soccer teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right foot.

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