5 most popular sports in Taiwan

Since the late 1800’s, Taiwan has been referred to as Chinese Taipei due to regional and political issues. While the island may be in the shadows despite having a separate sovereign identity, its people have their distinctive preferences when it comes to sports.

Various forms of sports are popular throughout Taiwan, some of them more traditional, while some have been introduced from the west and embraced widely by the locals.

The majority of the world considers that traditional forms of sports are more prevalent in countries like Taiwan, where the cultural influence is so strong. So, when you think of sports in Taiwan or Chinese Taipei per se, you may think more along the lines of combat sports like martial arts, including t’ai chi ch’uan and taekwondo.

However, we are here to dispel these notions and talk about the most popular sports in Taiwan. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Baseball In Taiwan

Baseball is immensely popular in Taiwan, and many consider it the national sport of Taiwan. It was first introduced in the country during Japanese rule. Over the years, the locals not only embraced the sport but focused on honing their skills, making Taiwan a strong contender in baseball.

The Taiwan national baseball team won the gold medal in 2006 at the Doha Asian Games. The team won the game against Japan, a strong competitor. Taiwan also has its own professional baseball league, the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL).

The primary competition held by the league is the Taiwan Series.

Taiwanese baseball players are household names and are revered in their communities. In addition to playing locally, Taiwanese players also play internationally. Many renowned players are playing baseball in the U.S. and Japan. For instance, Chien-Ming Wang plays for the New York Yankees, while Chien-Ming Chiang plays for the Japanese Yomiuri Giants.

Basketball In Taiwan

Basketball is another western game that has made its way into Taiwan and gained immense popularity. The country has its basketball league called the Super Basketball League. It was founded in 2003. However, if we compare it with other national basketball leagues, it is not very strong.

Jeremy Lin was the first Taiwanese basketball player to make it to the NBA and has become very popular in Taiwan and the USA. Other players like Sean Chen have tried but did not make it beyond tryouts for the NBA.

Football In Taiwan

Next on our list of most popular sports in Taiwan we have football. The sport may not be as popular as basketball and baseball, but it has a strong fan following and is enjoyed as a participatory and spectator sport by the masses.

The Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) manages and runs football affairs in the country. It organises various domestic level competitions and manages the country’s men’s and women’s football teams. The national team has done well at the Asian level on various accounts.

The most prominent football league in the country is the Enterprise Football League.
This semi-professional league was previously known as the National First Division Football League.

The strongest teams in the league are Taiwan Power Company F.C. from Fongshan and Tatung F.C. from the capital city of Taipei, which represent the country in the AFC President’s Cup, a continental club tournament organised by the Asian Football Confederation.

Another prominent league is the Intercity Football League which was founded in 2007. Matches for the Intercity Football league are held in the latter half of the year, while Enterprise Football League is held in the first half.

Besides formal leagues, there are various amateur football clubs in the country, mostly run by expatriates but helping to promote the sport throughout the country. There are also high school leagues that take part in the National Youth Cup.

Tennis In Taiwan

Tennis has been popular in Taiwan for quite some time now. Many Taiwanese tennis players have performed well and gained recognition at international levels. Among the male players, Lu Yen-Hsun and Wang Yeu-Tzuoo are regarded as history makers, putting Taiwan on the world tennis map. Among the female players, the title goes to Wang Shi Ting, who was ranked world no. 26 in 1993.

Volleyball In Taiwan

The Chinese Taipei Volleyball Association manages the sport in the country and has been organising the Enterprise Volleyball league every year since 2004, which is a men’s amateur league. The national volleyball team currently ranks 30th on the FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) World Rankings.

Besides the above mentioned sports, such as cycling, table tennis, marathons, and golf, are also quite popular in Taiwan and played throughout the country.

FAQs

What Is The Taiwan National Sport?

When it comes to Taiwan sports, baseball stands out as the most popular and is often considered the national sport of Taiwan. The sport has a rich history in the country and has been deeply influenced by Taiwan’s past, particularly its period under Japanese rule in the early 20th century. The Japanese affinity for baseball seems to have rubbed off on Taiwan, making it a significant part of the country’s sporting culture.

Baseball’s popularity in Taiwan is not just a recent phenomenon; it has historical roots. The sport gained nationwide attention in Taiwan around July 1968 when the Hong-Ye juvenile baseball team defeated a champion team from Japan with a score of 7–0. This victory, coupled with the rise of television broadcasting at the time, catapulted baseball to the status of Taiwan’s national sport.

Due to political reasons, teams from Taiwan often compete as “Chinese Taipei” in international sporting events. Despite this, the sport continues to thrive domestically, and it’s not uncommon to see baseball games being broadcast on local television or being played in schools and local leagues.

In summary, baseball is not just a game in Taiwan; it’s a part of the nation’s identity. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, experiencing a baseball game is a must to get a real sense of the national sport of Taiwan.

Is Sports Betting Legal In Taiwan?

In Taiwan, sports betting is a bit of a tricky subject. Taiwan sports betting is legal but only through a government-run program called the Taiwan Sports Lottery. This is your go-to for placing legal bets on sports like basketball and baseball. However, the betting options are quite limited—you can only make single-game and parlay bets.

When it comes to betting sites Taiwan has a strict stance. Online betting is generally considered illegal, and the government has blocked many international betting sites. Despite this, some people still manage to bet online using VPNs or offshore sites, although this is risky and could lead to legal consequences.

So, if you’re in Taiwan and looking to place a sports bet, your safest bet is to stick with the Taiwan Sports Lottery. Anything else could get you into legal trouble.


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