NFL and Rugby League both attract a lot of fan attention. Each of these fans believes their favourite sport to be the best and are dedicated in their support.

Both sports attract a TV and online following as well as supporters who attend games in person on a regular basis. As one of the sports betting experts at told us,

“NFL and rugby league have many similarities between them, and rugby is one of the sports that influenced the creation of American Football. Both sports also attract a lot of passion from followers.”

These similarities attract a comparison between NFL and Rugby League. They also raise the question, “Which is most popular, NFL or Rugby League?”

Why Compare Rugby League to NFL?

For many people, rugby league is the most similar sport to NFL in existence, with the exception of Canadian football. It’s easy to see why people have this opinion. NFL has its origins in rugby and association football.

There are also several similarities in how the games are played. For example, touchdowns/tries take precedence over goal kicking.

Of course, not everything is the same in NFL as it is in Rugby League. Some examples of this are that the games are far longer than the 80 minutes that a Rugby League game lasts and in Rugby League only the player who has the ball can be tackled.

NFL players also wear a considerable amount of protective clothing including a helmet and padding. For many Rugby League fans this is highly amusing given the limited amount of protective gear used by players of the sport.

NFL Fanbase vs Rugby League fanbase

The fanbases for NFL and Rugby League are also very different. American Football is the most played sport at school and college level in the US. So, it follows that this popularity translates to a large following for NFL teams.

There are 32 franchises between two conferences in the NFL and overall, they attract an average attendance of around 67,591. This is the highest average attendance for any single sports league in the world.

By comparison, Rugby League is the eighth most popular sport in the UK and the average crowd for top clubs is around 9,000. However, Rugby League has a wider world audience than NFL. For example, it’s played and watched in countries including Australia, New Zealand, France, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and Lebanon.

Rugby League is also experiencing a growth in interest despite some people predicting its demise. For example, the Super League recently achieved overall viewing figures of 200,000.

It’s clear that the fanbase for NFL is huge although most fans are located within the US. The sport does not have the same level of popularity in other countries. On the other hand, Rugby League’s following is not as large, but it does expand across several countries. Overall, NFL is more popular, but fans of both sports are equally as passionate.