One of the recurring questions asked by visitors to Bolivia Web is about the most popular sports in Bolivia. I don’t have statistics to back me up, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
In terms of how much coverage a particular sport gets, soccer is by far the most popular sport in Bolivia. Newspapers and TV sports shows provide comprehensive coverage about the country’s professional league. If there are no matches being played, sports reporters cover practice sessions and interview soccer players both before and after each practice. Professional soccer is an obsession.
In terms of the favorite sports that Bolivians actually play, my guess is that “fútbol de salon” is more popular than regular soccer. “Fútbol de salon”, also know as “fulbito” is a type of soccer normally played in basketball courts fitted with small goals. The ball is smaller than a regular soccer ball. Teams have five or six players.
Another popular sport is “paleta”, a racquet sport played in a large outdoor court or “frontón” surrounded by three tall walls. Years ago, “paleta” was played with wooden paddles, hence the name. Nowadays, wooden paddles have been replaced by racquetball racquets.