Soccer vs Basketball: Which is the Better Sport? [Backed by Research]

There are several world-famous games that people compare with each other. Since every game has its pros and cons, it becomes challenging to decide the superior game.

Soccer and basketball are two of the most popular sports globally, and both games are unique in their own way.

To prove that one of these is better than the other, we need to have solid reasons. So that is what we will do in this article.

Soccer, a well-known game, was invented in England over 2000 years ago along with all of its rules and regulations. It then became prevalent in Spain and Italy and then grew to become a cultural icon.

Since then, soccer has grown in popularity all over the world.

On the other hand, basketball was invented in the 20th century and became a popular sport in almost no time. The NBA greatly influenced the popularity of this sport.

Moreover, basketball legends such as George Mikan, Bill Russell, and Wilt Chamberlain lifted the game to new heights.

So, without further delay, let us dive into the topic and discuss all of the reasons why one game is superior to another.

Soccer vs. Basketball

Soccer and basketball both have several differences in terms of rules and style of play.

Let’s go through a few of the major differences between these two games.

Ball Types

The size and weight of a soccer ball are quite essential as the players need to hold it in their hands throughout the match.

If these characteristics of the ball do not match the ones specified, the game will be a major failure.

FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, which organizes the major football championships, has determined the ball size for soccer.

FIFA has produced a ball of two sizes: 4 and 5. Size 4 is for children under 12, while size 5 is for adults aged 13 and up. These balls differ in size and weight, but they are all made of leather.


Dr. James Naismith invented basketball in 1891, and back then, soccer balls were also used to play basketball. The first basketball was made from laced leather in 1894.

In 2006, the NBA made some changes to the specifications of the ball, but they did not go well due to complaints and had to be revised after three months.

In the early days, a basketball consisted of 8 leather panels. But now, with the advent of new technologies, it only requires two panels.

Moreover, the basketball circumference is around 29 to 30 inches, while the standard weight is 22 ounces.

Ground Dimensions

Soccer is an outdoor sport that needs vast expanses of land. It is essentially a game played on natural or artificial grass. In addition, the ground’s total area is usually up to 125 yards long and 65 yards wide.

When inventing basketball, Dr. James Naismith’s primary goal was to introduce a game that could be played indoors. This was done so that the weather would not interfere with the game, which is why basketball can be played on an indoor and outdoor court.

In general, the court is 84 by 50 feet wide.


Game Duration

Another significant difference when it comes to soccer vs. basketball is the timing of both games. Soccer consists of two rounds, each lasting approximately 45 minutes. There is also a 15-minute break between these rounds.

Sometimes the duration increases depending on the situation, such as a player’s injury or any other reason that may cause a delay.

On the other hand, the duration of a basketball game is 48 minutes. This is because there are four rounds of games, each lasting about 12 minutes. There is also a 15-minute break after the second round, which is about 24 minutes.


A goal in soccer occurs when the ball crosses the net frame and touches the net. The frame has a white net and stands on a rectangular-shaped rod. The net attaches to the back and sides of the frame, forming a solid goal track.

Moreover, the net should be white and not more than five inches thick. The overall dimensions of the frame are 8 feet high by 24 feet wide. If the ball comes into contact with any part of the net, it counts as a point.


Rims, which are 18 inches in diameter, are used in basketball goals. The rim is attached to a glass or wooden background and stands 10 feet above the ground.

There is also a net attached to the lower side of the rim. When the ball crosses the rim, it counts as a goal.


Kits are an essential component in both games. They represent the team, their country and help with player recognition.

The player’s name and number are written on the back of the shirt so that everyone knows who is playing for a certain position.

However, the kits for both games are different as soccer players wear shorts and a polo-style jersey and cleats. In contrast, basketball players wear shorts and a tank-top jersey with sneakers.

Number of players

During a soccer match, there are 22 players on the field. Each team has a maximum of 11 players, and one of them is a goalkeeper.

There are also substitute players who join the field in place of the regular players in the case of an injury or some other unforeseen circumstances.

In contrast, a basketball team is limited to 12 players. Only five players are present on the court at a time. However, the tipping point is that unlimited substitutions are available during a basketball match.


The person who judges the game and makes the rules and regulations for soccer is called a referee. He also issues yellow and red cards to players who break the rules or commit a violation.

The yellow card warns that if the player makes the same mistake again, they will be forced to leave the game. If a player receives a red card, they must leave the field immediately.

The role of the referee in basketball is pretty much the same. He simply highlights the players’ fouls and violations and corrects the errors with his decision and penalties. However, no cards are used in basketball.

Similarities Between Soccer and Basketball

Despite the differences, there are a few significant similarities between the two major sports, soccer and basketball. For starters, they both use balls of the same shape and attempt to achieve a goal with the assistance of all team members.

Although they both use playing grounds, kits, several players, referees and judges, and goals, each game has a different strategy and style, which creates plenty of differences.

While one team plays on grass, the other plays on wood. Where one team has 11 players, the other only has 5. Therefore, it is simple to agree that their differences outnumber their similarities.

Why Is Basketball Better Than Soccer?

We are now moving on to our final argument. We believe that basketball is better than soccer for several reasons, and we will justify this with solid reasons.

Again, you might disagree with us, but this is what we have come up with after our detailed comparison of both games.

So, let’s give you the answer: why is basketball better than soccer?

Less Risky

A basketball match is safe and less risky as compared to soccer. In soccer, the players run rigorously to score a goal, due to which several of them get injured. It is a violent game, to be precise.

On the other hand, basketball is a much more peaceful sport that does not require a lot of physical contact. Therefore, it is a more preferred game for all age groups.


Most often, basketball players are stronger and taller than soccer players.

A basketball player’s average height is 6 feet 7 inches, while a soccer player’s average height is 5 feet 11 inches. As a result, there is a significant difference in their physical appearance.


Basketball is a highly unpredictable and exciting sport. While comparing games, we discovered that only a few soccer teams win titles year after year, namely Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Therefore, it is easier to predict which game will win a soccer match.


In contrast, a basketball match is full of uncertainties. For example, a team that is winning this second might end up losing the next moment.

That is why basketball keeps the audience intrigued till the very end of the game.

Match Duration

The game with the shortest time limit is perhaps the most popular. People prefer to watch games that end quickly and announce the results as soon as possible.

If we compare the match duration of basketball and soccer, the former takes only 48 minutes to complete the game. Soccer, on the other hand, requires 90 minutes for a full match.

So, due to its short duration, basketball is a lot more popular.

Final Verdict: Soccer vs Basketball

In the end, we would like to mention that these aren’t simply opinions but facts backed up by research. So after a comprehensive analysis, we have concluded that most people prefer basketball over soccer.

This is because it is a simpler and more accessible game than soccer. It is also more entertaining and straightforward to learn. Finally, basketball is a safe game that keeps the audience engaged till the end.

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Joshua Bast

My name is Joshua Bast and I have been playing basketball ever since I was 7 years old. I love the game play, I love the feeling whenever I score a basket, but what made me fell in love was the camaraderie with my team mates. This blog is dedicated to help any up-and-coming basketball players maximize their potential.

Joshua Bast