As a society, Britain loves watching sports. Every week millions of us tune in to watch matches, games, or racing or spend our hard-earned money paying for tickets to live events. From stadiums to the screen, we love nothing more than cheering on our favorite teams and willing them to win, and nothing hurts like the despair we feel when they lose.
Here in the UK, there are four big sports that we love the most: football, rugby, horse racing, and cricket. This article delves into each of these sports and looks at the viewing figures to reveal which is the most popular.
While team rivalry is fierce, there’s one thing all football fans can agree on: their love of the game. Whether you watch the match on TV or are a season ticket holder, more Britons watch football than any other sport. Therefore, football is the most popular spectator sport in the UK.
Second on the list is rugby, which amassed a total of 7.8 million attendees in 2017. Top of the list was rugby union games, attended by 5.5 million people, while rugby league matches were followed by 2.3 million.
Whether you’re league or union, we think rugby is one of the most thrilling games. From the rugby tackles to the camaraderie among fans, it’s a fantastic sport to watch.
As one of the oldest sports in the UK, it’s no surprise that horse racing sits in third place. Here in Britain, horse racing is believed to date back as far as 200AD, although the first recorded races took place during the 1100s.
Today, horse racing remains as popular as ever, with 7.8 million Britons attending live events in 2017. For many, high-profile races stay the highlight of the social calendar, with millions attending events like Royal Ascot and the Grand National.
A sport that originated in Britain, cricket remains one of the country’s favorites. Although it has lower attendance figures than the other three sports on this list—with 2.3 million attendees in 2017—it has remained popular since its inception over 400 years ago.
However, with the Women’s Cricket World Cup taking place in 2022 and the Men’s in 2023, we expect attendance figures to increase over the next two years.