Top 5 Sports In Latvia

Latvia, a small yet vibrant European country, is bursting with passion for sports and has cultivated an impressive selection of popular pastimes. From ice hockey to basketball, Latvians enthusiastically support their national teams and produce exceptional talent that competes on global stages.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the top 5 sports in Latvia, exploring their history and uncovering why these activities have captured the hearts of its people.

Key Takeaways

  • Ice hockey is the national sport of Latvia and deeply ingrained in its culture, producing many talented players who go on to achieve success globally.
  • Football is the second – most popular sport in Latvia with a professional league, notable successes by the national team, and numerous facilities throughout the country.
  • Basketball has a long tradition of success in Latvia, producing notable players like Kristaps Porzingis and providing ample opportunities for betting fans to engage with local leagues as well as international matches featuring Latvian talent.
  • Volleyball is an integral part of Latvia’s sporting culture with Olympic medalists among its ranks and growing investment in youth development programs. Biathlon also enjoys a rich tradition amongst athletes and spectators alike during winter months.

Top 5 Most Popular Sports In Latvia

The five most popular sports in Latvia are ice hockey, football, basketball, volleyball, and biathlon.

Ice Hockey

Ice hockey holds a special place in the hearts of Latvians, being the national sport and having deep roots in their culture. Many talented players emerge from Latvia to play in globally renowned leagues like the NHL and KHL, showcasing their prowess on ice.

Since its introduction in the 1920s and Latvia’s membership within the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), ice hockey has only grown more popular among betting fans who relish wagering on thrilling matches throughout various championships.


Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Latvia after ice hockey, with a strong professional league and notable success by the national team. The Latvian Higher League features 10 teams and has produced several talented players who have gone on to play in top European leagues.

The national team’s biggest achievement came in 2004 when they qualified for the UEFA European Championship for the first time, where they narrowly missed out on reaching the quarter-finals.

Football facilities are widespread throughout Latvia with almost all public schools and institutions having teams and fields.

In recent years, football betting has become more prevalent in Latvia along with other sports due to online betting platforms such as


Basketball is hugely popular in Latvia, with a long tradition and history of success in the sport. The country has produced many talented players who have gone on to achieve success both domestically and internationally.

Latvian basketball has been played since the 1920s, and it is considered one of the country’s top sports after ice hockey and football.

One notable Latvian basketball player is Kristaps Porzingis, who currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks in NBA. He was selected fourth overall by the New York Knicks during the 2015 NBA draft, making him one of Latvia’s most successful exports to date.

Additionally, Latvia has several domestic leagues that provide ample opportunities for betting fans to place their bets with various online bookmakers.


Volleyball is another hugely popular sport in Latvia, with a proud tradition and history of success. The national women’s team has won several Olympic medals and consistently performs well in international tournaments.

Many Latvian clubs also compete at the highest levels of European club volleyball, with some players going on to play professionally overseas. The Olympic Sports Centre in Riga is the main venue for volleyball games, but matches are played across the country throughout the year.

It’s not just about watching either – there are plenty of opportunities to get involved yourself, with beach volleyball becoming increasingly popular during the summer months.


Biathlon is a winter sport that is steeped in tradition in Latvia. It involves cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, making for a challenging and unpredictable competition.

Latvians have been participating in biathlon since the 1960s and have produced some notable athletes over the years. One such athlete is Andrus Veerpalu, who won two Olympic gold medals in Nordic skiing before transitioning to biathlon later in his career.

Latvia also has its own biathlon team, which competes on the World Cup circuit and at major international events like the Winter Olympics.

Overview And History Of Each Sport

Latvia is a country with a passion for sports, and there are many popular sporting activities to choose from. In this blog post, we will be discussing the top 5 most popular sports in Latvia and their history. These include ice hockey, football, basketball, volleyball, and biathlon. We will explore each sport’s overview and its significance to Latvia’s sporting culture by highlighting notable achievements, players, venues/events as well as future prospects of the respective industry.

Ice Hockey: Latvia’s National Sport And Notable Achievements

Ice hockey is more than just a sport in Latvia; it’s a national obsession.

Latvia’s national team has enjoyed notable successes on the international stage, securing their place as one of Europe’s top teams.

Furthermore, several Latvian players have found success in major global leagues like the NHL and KHL.

Football: Professional League And National Team Success

Football, or soccer as it is known in some parts of the world, is the second-most popular sport in Latvia after ice hockey. Latvia has a professional football league called the Latvian Higher League, which consists of 9 teams and runs from March to November.

The most successful team in the league’s history is Skonto FC, which has won 14 titles since its founding in 1991.

Latvia also has a national football team that competes internationally and has had some notable successes over the years. In 2004, they qualified for their first major tournament – UEFA European Football Championship – where they made it past the group stage before being eliminated by eventual winners Greece in the quarter-finals.

Basketball: Popular In Latvia Since The 1920s And Notable Players

Basketball has been a popular sport in Latvia since the 1920s, with many talented players excelling both nationally and internationally. Latvians take pride in their basketball culture, with a rich history of success that includes winning the 1935 European basketball championship.

Notable Latvian players include Kristaps Porzingis, who plays for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA, as well as Andris Biedrins and Janis Timma, who have also played professionally overseas.

Betting fans can expect to see some exciting games and opportunities when following Latvia’s national basketball team or betting on local league matches at venues like Arena Riga or Olympic Sports Centre.

Volleyball: Olympic Medalists And Notable Players

Volleyball is a popular sport in Latvia, with many talented players and a successful national team. Latvian volleyball players have achieved Olympic medal success, including bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Notable players include Mārtiņš Pļaviņš and Jānis Smedins, who won the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship in 2013. The sport has grown significantly in recent years, with more investment in youth development programs and tournaments being hosted across the country.

Biathlon: Winter Sports Tradition In Latvia

The biathlon is a winter sport that has a rich tradition in Latvia. It combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, with competitors racing against the clock to complete a course.

In Latvia, the sport is popular among both athletes and spectators, with many aspiring young talents dreaming of representing their country on the world stage. The Latvian Biathlon Federation oversees the sport’s development and organizes national championships and other events throughout the year, providing ample opportunities for fans to bet on biathlon competitions featuring some of Latvia’s finest athletes.

Top Venues And Events For Each Sport

Top venues for each sport in Latvia include Arena Riga for ice hockey, basketball and concerts; Daugava Stadium for football and track events; Olympic Sports Centre for volleyball, basketball, and ice hockey.

Arena Riga For Ice Hockey, Basketball, And Concerts

Arena Riga is the largest indoor arena in Latvia and serves as a venue for various sporting events, most notably ice hockey and basketball. It has a seating capacity of 11,200 and hosts international tournaments like the IIHF World Championships and EuroBasket.

Ice hockey fans can catch games from Latvia’s national team or top Latvian clubs like Dinamo Riga who compete in the KHL. Arena Riga also hosts concerts by both local and international artists, making it a versatile entertainment hub in addition to its role in sports.

Daugava Stadium For Football And Track And Field

Daugava Stadium is the premier venue for football in Latvia, hosting many of the country’s top matches. The stadium has a seating capacity of 9,500 and also doubles as a track and field facility.

The facility regularly hosts Latvian national team games, including World Cup qualifying matches. It was renovated in 2014 to meet UEFA standards for European competition matches.

Olympic Sports Centre For Volleyball, Basketball, And Ice Hockey

The Olympic Sports Centre in Riga is a premier sporting venue that hosts a variety of events throughout the year. It’s a popular destination for betting fans who want to catch high-level volleyball, basketball, and ice hockey matches.

The centre has several indoor and outdoor courts and arenas, making it an ideal location for large-scale tournaments and competitions.

Additionally, many international tournaments are held at the Olympic Sports Centre, including FIBA EuroBasket qualification games and IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships matches.

Betting fans can also watch some of Latvia’s top athletes compete in different disciplines during national championships hosted at this prestigious venue.

National Championships And International Tournaments

Latvia hosts several national and international tournaments throughout the year, offering plenty of opportunities for betting fans to get involved. The Latvian Ice Hockey Championships are highly anticipated events that draw large crowds and offer plenty of betting options.

Additionally, Latvia has hosted numerous major sporting events including FIBA Europe Cup Finals, IIHF World Junior Championship, and EuroBasket Women’s Championship. These tournaments provide a platform for talented athletes to showcase their skills against some of the world’s best players while also providing great betting opportunities for fans looking to wager on their favourite sports stars.

Future Of Sports In Latvia

The future of sports in Latvia looks promising, with investment in youth development programs and plans to host international tournaments. The country is also focusing on expanding facilities and infrastructure, as well as encouraging diversity in sports participation.

Investment In Youth Development Programs

Latvia is investing significantly in youth development programs to support the growth of sports talent in the country. The government and various sports organizations are working together to provide better training facilities, equipment, and coaches for young athletes.

The investment also includes promoting diversity in sports participation by encouraging women’s participation in traditionally male-dominated sports like ice hockey. Through such initiatives, Latvia has been able to produce world-class athletes who have gone on to excel at international events like the Winter Olympics.

Hosting International Tournaments

Hosting international tournaments is a great opportunity for Latvia to showcase its sports industry, facilities and infrastructure, as well as attract tourists. Major global events such as the EuroBasket 2015 and ice hockey’s IIHF World Championships have been held in Latvia with great success.

These large-scale tournaments not only bring a surge of visitors to the country but also generate significant revenue through ticket sales, tourism spending, and broadcasting rights.

Latvia has invested heavily in modernizing its sporting venues over the years. The Olympic Sports Centre in Riga is one of the finest examples of this investment with state-of-the-art facilities suited for hosting top-level competitions.

Expanding Facilities And Infrastructure

Latvia has been investing in expanding its facilities and infrastructure for sports to promote their growth. The country has set up modern training centers and stadiums, making it easier for young talent to hone their skills.

The government and local sports organizations have also focused on creating accessible sporting venues across the country. Youngsters interested in ice hockey or football can find ice rinks and football pitches in most towns, which helps cultivate a love of sport from an early age.

Encouraging Diversity In Sports Participation

Latvia is committed to promoting diversity in sports participation, recognizing that sport should be accessible to everyone. This means encouraging all genders, ages, and abilities to participate in various sports.

One notable example is the Latvian Paralympic Committee, which supports athletes with physical disabilities in competing at international events such as the Paralympic Games.

Additionally, community outreach programs offer opportunities for youth from lower-income families to participate in organized sports.

Furthermore, Latvia recognizes the importance of sustaining a thriving sporting culture by nurturing new talent regularly. As such, many youth development programs have been established across different disciplines and age groups that support exceptional budding talents through expert coaching services and state-of-the-art facilities geared towards high-performance training.


In conclusion, Latvia boasts a rich sporting culture with ice hockey standing out as the national sport. However, basketball, football, and volleyball are all highly popular team sports in the country.

The future of Latvian sports looks bright due to investments in youth development programs and efforts to host international tournaments.


What are the top 5 sports in Latvia?

The top 5 most popular sports in Latvia include ice hockey, basketball, volleyball, football, and floorball.

How has Latvia performed in international sports events?

Latvia has had notable performances in various international sporting events such as winning bronze medals at the Olympic Games for basketball and ice hockey, as well as achieving success at World Championships for ice hockey and other team-based sports.

Are there any unique Latvian traditional sports that are still practiced today?

Yes, one example of a traditional Latvian sport is “novuss,” which is similar to billiards but involves using small wooden discs rather than balls. Other traditional Latvian games include “koroona” and “stiga.”

How does the government support sports development in Latvia?

The Latvian government provides funding to support athletic programs and facilities across the country through its Ministry of Education and Science’s Sports Department. The department also offers various grants individual athletes can apply for financial assistance with training or travel expenses related to competitions abroad.

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