3000 sports

According to the 2003 edition of the World Sports Encyclopedia (affiliate link), there are at least 3000 distinct sports played around the world.

These sports and games run the gamut from the Big Four in the United States — baseball, football, basketball, hockey — to worldwide favorites like soccer, to regional favorites like picota in Spain, to games for very specific types of participants, including folks who are wheelchair-bound.

While Wikipedia has the total count at 8000 on their “List of Sports” page, they actually cite “sports/games” as the basis for that number.

Nevertheless, that entry does enumerate many of the sports around the globe, and the aforementioned World Sports Encyclopedia (affiliate link) is another excellent source for finding out at least cursory information about thousands of athletic endeavors.