New ParagraphTo be sure, basketball has got its work cut out for it. By just about any measure of popularity—from revenue to viewership to social media—soccer's lead would seem nigh on insurmountable.
According to the consulting firm A.T. Kearney, basketball, as represented by the NBA, constituted about 6 percent of the global sports market in terms of revenue generated in 2009, at 2.7 billion Euros. Soccer, on the other hand, swallowed a staggering 43 percent of the market, with a take of 19.5 billion Euros.
Much has changed in the last five years, though, particularly for basketball.
According to collective bargaining guru Larry Coon, the NBA's latest increase in its salary cap points to a projected basketball-related income (BRI) of $4.75 billion for the league in 2014-15. That number could jump considerably in the years to come, thanks in large part to the flood of revenue that's expected to flow from the NBA's upcoming renewal of its national television pacts.
For the moment, then, that leaves the NBA slightly behind the English Premier League in total revenue. According to BBC News' Bill Wilson, the EPL broke the £3 billion mark—which translates to right around $5 billion—for the first time ever in 2013-14.
Unlike the NBA in basketball, the EPL isn't the only billion-dollar conglomeration in the soccer world. According to Deloitte, Germany's Bundesliga, Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, France's Ligue 1, Brazil's Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A and the Russian Premier League all checked in above $1 billion in revenue as of 2012-13.
And that's not including the 22 other soccer leagues around the world—including MLS and the second-division groups in England, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan—that rake in more money than does basketball's second-biggest association, Spain's Liga ACB, which brought in just under 107 million Euros (i.e., a shade over $140 million) in 2011-12, per Spanish outlet AS.com's Alfredo Matilla and Juan Jimenez (via Wikipedia).