Apples and kumquats wrote:
You're mistaking participation in an activity with interest in a spectator sport.
I'm not sure that's true. How does one define interest? If it means 'peak interest', then it may be higher even than football (i.e. 100m final in the Olympic games, or when a country's main athlete is performing at the Olympics), and is certainly higher than cricket and any other sport as a distributed metric worldwide.
If it means 'neutral interest', i.e. not following one's own country or team, the same will be true I believe. Almost everybody in the world is interested in a new 100m record. Boxing might be a sport which performs reasonably highly by that metric too.
But I also believe what I wrote holds, peak or non-peak, neutral or non-neutral, for metrics like media coverage and occurrence in discussion amongst people, not just participation.