This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, but professional football is the biggest sport in the United States. Not only are ratings and revenues going up quite a bit, but so is the percentage of people who consider professional football to be their favorite sport. According to a poll done by Harris Interactive, pro football jumped from 31 to 36 percent from 2010 to 2011 in terms of how many Americans consider it their favorite sport. This is as high as the number has ever been for the polling data that goes back to 1985.
Perhaps just as notable is that pro football's lead over baseball is growing quite a bit. In 2010, pro football had a lead of 14 percentage points over baseball, then the second most popular sport in America. In 2011, the lead jumped to 23 percentage points. Also, baseball is no longer in sole possession of second place. College football jumped from 12 to 13 percent as baseball fell from 17 to 13 percent, meaning another form of football has entered the top two.
After pro football, baseball and college football, the next four most popular sports are auto racing (!) at eight percent and men's pro basketball, men's college basketball and hockey all at five percent.
To say the least, in today's world football is the clear national pastime of the United States -- both on a professional and collegiate level.