This could be one reason of its popularity. Another thing is once a game is popular in a country the sportsmen start associating with it and the companies also start giving it considerable revenue against the marketing and advertisements and the game starts to flourish further. It is a chain reaction and sky is the only limit.
See the case of cricket in our country. Even a ordinary person will be able to tell so many things about the cricket that the listener will be surprised.
When a country starts performing good in a particular game in olympics or other world level competitions then that also adds to its popularity.
Knowledge is power.
The players who are doing a good job in the field will becom heroes for the people. So companies will offer huge amounts to these players and make them their brand ambassadors. That will give huge amounts to the players. This will make younger generations to get attracted towards that game.
There are many other games which are popular in the US. Basketball is one of the popular games there.
(Happy to see a sports' discussion other than cricket!)
When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment you create trust! ~ John C. Maxwell
"If you don't understand my silence, you will not understand my words"
Baseball, American football and lacrosse etc are very popular in this part of the world. Americans like playing American games. They like being different. Basketball was invented there and they love it.
The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.
No life without Sun
Take example of IPL, the way people take interest in such plays we indirectly allowing more people to chose game as option. Though we have Kabbadi, Hockey, Tennis tournaments people shows more interest towards cricket.
So conclusion is its people's choice to make any game interesting or preferable for any nation.