Popular Sports in Mexico: Popular Mexican Sports to Know

You may be interested in learning about popular Mexican Sports if you are traveling to Mexico for the first time, moving to Mexico, or simply have an interest in Mexican life and culture. Truthfully, popular Mexican Sports are often sports that are loved in many other countries around the globe too including in the nearby United States and Canada.

Football (soccer)  is arguably the most popular sport in Mexico. However, just like in the United States, baseball is also extremely popular here too. In some states such as Sinaloa, baseball is even more popular than football. 

There are also several Mexican Sports that are either exclusive to Mexico or are only played in certain parts of the world. For instance, the Charrería (aka the Mexican rodeo) is the national sport of Mexico. 

It has strong roots in both indigenous and Colonial Spanish cultures. Mexico is also one of only a handful of countries that still has bullfighting as a sport. 

What is also interesting, are the sports that were played by the Mayas, the Aztecs, and other indigenous groups in Mexico thousands of years ago. For instance, Pok-ta-Pok, Patolli and Ullamaliztli. 

Popular Sports in Mexico 

Football (Soccer) 

Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Mexico by a long way. in fact, FIFA themselves have estimated that around 8 million people in Mexico play football. 

Mexico has competed in almost every FIFA World Cup Tournament since the inaugural tournament in 1930. Sadly, they have never been able to win the World Cup and in most instances, they haven’t passed the group stages. 

Perhaps the last occasion where Mexico performed particularly well in the FIFA World Cup was when they were able to enter the quarterfinals in the 1986 tournament. In 2022, Mexico did themselves proud in their win against Saudi Arabia and their draw against Poland.

Sadly, they weren’t able to make it past the group stages. However, the fact that they will be hosting the tournament in 2026 will perhaps be a big motivator for performance. 

The United World Cup 2026 is set to be held in stadiums in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. In Mexico, stadiums in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City will be improved and used for the tournament. 

Mexico has produced many quality football players over the decades. Many have gone on to play for International Teams, including top-tier teams in the United States. 

The Professional football league in Mexico is known as Liga BBVA MX. It is also considered as being one of the best football leagues in North America and is governed by the Mexican Football Federation (FMF).

Liga MX consists of 18 teams. Like in most countries, the Mexican football league has a promotion and relegation system in place. If teams are relegated from Liga MX, they move down to the second division of Mexico Ascenso MX. 

Baseball 

Popular sports in Mexico: Watching a Leones de Yucatán baseball game in Merida, Mexico

Baseball is arguably Mexico’s second most popular sport. It has been enjoyed in the country for decades and the Mexican Baseball League (LMB) was founded in 1925. 

This league has 16 teams split across 2 divisions. The Mexican Baseball League is played during the summer and includes teams from across Mexico. 

Meanwhile, the Mexican Pacific League (LMP) is played during the winter by eight teams from the northwest of Mexico. The team that wins the LMP will go on to represent Mexico at the Caribbean World Series. 

This is the highest-level baseball tournament in Latin America. Exactly when baseball arrived in Mexico is unknown. However, people estimate that it was between 1870 and 1890. 

There is also a debate about where baseball was first played in Mexico. Although a lot of people seem to agree that it was Mazatlan. 

Indeed, Sinaloa, in Northwestern Mexico is almost synonymous with the sport of baseball. Many excellent players were born here including Vinny Rottino, Vinny Castilla, and Fernando Valenzuela.

If you are a sports fan, or you are from somewhere that doesn’t really have a major baseball league (e.g. the UK and Europe), you may enjoy catching a Mexican baseball game during your trip. The Tomateros de Culiacan and the Diablos Rojos del Mexico are particularly good teams. 

You can also catch a Leones de Yucatan game if you find yourself embarking on a Yucatan road trip or spending time in the Yucatan capital of Merida. 

The Charrería

Popular sports in Mexico: The Charreria

The Charrería is the Mexican version of the rodeo. it is a Mexican tradition that has been around for centuries. UNESCO recognized the sport as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2016. the sport has roots in the northern Mexico states of Jalisco and Hidalgo. indeed today, one of the best places in Mexico to see the Terraria is in the Jalisco state capital of Guadalajara.

 it is not the indigenous people of Mexico that are recognized for inventing the sport, but the Spanish colonizers in the 16th century. when the Spanish arrived in New Spain, many of them worked in haciendas and were given jobs such as managing farms and raising cattle and horses. 

When they had some free time, the Spaniards would invent different equestrian games and contests. members of one hacienda would often compete in tournaments against other haciendas.

Following the Mexican Revolution and the decline of the henequin boom, many haciendas started to lose their importance and close down. In 1921 the Asociacion Nacional de Charros was developed. 

Its purpose is to protect the cultural heritage and history of the Charrería. It is possible to attend a Terraria during your time in Mexico and many are free to attend.

There are several notable contests to look out for if you attend a Charrería. Most feature an activity known as La Rienda. 

This sees horseback riders try and catch a calf by losing it around the neck with a rope. There is a similar contest where Riders try to lasso a bull known as El Manganelo

Then, there is a women’s event known as the Escaramuza, which sees female riders perform a choreographed routine. The Charrería often seems a little rough towards animals, so it may not be for everyone. 

Bullfighting 

Bullfighting is one of the more controversial Mexican sports that still exists today. The sport is believed to have been invented in the city of Ronda in Andalusia, Southern Spain. 

It was brought to Mexico and other countries in Latin America by the Spanish conquistadors. Bullfighting has been enjoyed in Mexico for over 500 years. 

At this moment, Mexico is one of the only countries in the world where bullfighting is still legal. The sport has been illegalized twice throughout history.

La Monumental bullfighting ring in Mexico City is the largest in the world and dates back to 1942. It can hold over 40,000 spectators. 

Tourists can watch and attend bullfighting tournaments in Mexico if they wish. However, you should seriously consider the ethics of such a sport. 

FAQs about Sports in Mexico 

Popular sports in Mexico: Watching a Leones de Yucatán baseball game in Merida, Mexico

Do you have any further questions, queries, or ponderings about popular sports in Mexico? Some frequently asked questions on the topic are detailed below. 

Hopefully, you will find the answer you are searching for there. Otherwise, feel free to reach out! 

What is the Mexican national sport?

The Charrería (aka the Mexican rodeo) is the Mexican national sport. UNESCO has recognized it as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

What is Mexicos oldest sport?

The Charrería is Mexico’s oldest sport, as well as a sport that is considered the country’s national sport. 

Why are sports so popular in Mexico? 

Sports like football, basketball, baseball, and boxing are very popular in Mexico. Then again, there are a lot of people who enjoy sports in every country. 

People in Mexico love watching sports and they love playing them. There is a big sense of camaraderie when Mexico participates in any kind of international competition and people get together to watch, whether they have a strong interest in that specific sport or not. 

Mexicans play sports as a chance to socialize, for fitness reasons, and to spend time outdoors. Playing sports like football as part of a team can also give a sense of purpose and belonging. 

Did Mexico invent baseball?

There is a lot of debate about the origins of baseball. Many say that Americans brought baseball to Mexico during the Mexico-America war. 

There is also a popular myth that an American man known as Abner Doubleday invented baseball in New York in 1839. However, records of other people playing baseball prior to that date have disproven the theory. 


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer based in Merida, Mexico and the Editor-in-Chief of Mexico Travel Secrets. She has over seven years worth of experience in working in travel media and has travelled to 57 countries, mostly solo. Throughout her career, Melissa has produced written content for several high-profile publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, the Huffington Post, Rough Guides, and Matador Network.

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