I think soccer is considered to be a new religion.
Did you ever mentioned the moment when in several seconds before the goal people start saying "Please" or "Win", "I believe in you" and so on. Someone close their eyes starting to whisper something, someone else bring their palms together, their minds are gone, and they only think about the match, they forget about everything around them. They hope. They are praying. Soccer match is like going to the church or mosque and so on.
Sorry but what about milliards of people watching soccer in every part of our planet? I know that there are big amount of NHL fans too, but they are not from everywhere. For instance, in African countries hockey is not very popular, I think they just do not get it because of climate conditionals or something. But soccer is watched everywhere. Everyone knows for example Messi, Ronaldo.
There are special places and persons. Do you know Maradona? I think yes. He is a national symbol of worship in Argentina. You even can finds facts in Wikipedia about the "Church of Maradona" and that they have special places to pray. There are a religious display of him in Naples(Italy) too.