What are the Most Popular Sports-Themed Gaming Franchises?

Current sports-based video games are extremely popular because they are so realistic. There are many sports video games replicating the professional leagues, including soccer, basketball, wrestling, and American football to name but a few. With so many options from which to choose, we have compiled the most popular sports-themed gaming franchises.


American football is the most popular sport in the United States, so it comes as no surprise to find the Madden series of NFL games at the top of the pile. First released in 1998, the Madden franchise has seen over 130 million copies sold and EA Sports continue to release new titles every season. When EA first approached John Madden, their idea was for a 7 vs 7 game, but Madden persuaded them to make an 11 vs 11 games and it proved to be the right choice. It is believed EA makes $600 million from the video game every year, which is incredible, and Madden also does well out of the deal having signed a $150 million contract with EA in 2005.


In terms of worldwide popularity, soccer is the biggest sport on the planet and EA Sports has come up trumps with their FIFA franchise. Over 260 million copies of the game have been sold since FIFA was first introduced to video game enthusiasts in 1993. There have been many iconic covers of FIFA games and becoming the cover star of the game is a goal for every top professional. EA Sports recently lost the FIFA license but continues to make soccer video games and they have become huge in the Esports industry. Not only can you play FIFA competitively and win big money, but you can also bet on the outcome of FIFA games. The best betting apps will all offer Esports betting, and you have a wager on big FIFA events.


NBA 2K was first released in November 1999 and has grown to become the leading basketball video game. Thanks to the license with the National Basketball Association, NBA 2K has all the big-name players and rosters. Over 130 million copies of the game have been sold over the years and much like the sports franchise games above, NBA 2K is popular in the competitive world of Esports. With a new NBA 2K game released every year, 2K regularly introduces new challenges that are specific to that version of the game.


It is fair to say some wrestling fans have been a little disappointed with recent releases of WWE 2K video games, but it has long been one of the most popular sports-themed gaming franchises. Featuring current wrestlers and superstars from the past, WWE 2K remains the go-to video game for wrestling fans. The most recent installment at the time of writing, WWE 2K24 has received favorable reviews and shows the franchise is back on the up following a tough period.

Some of the other leading sports video game franchises include MLB the Show, Out of The Park Baseball, and EA Sports UFC.