UK Major Sporting Events Market Report 2024
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The Paris Olympics are the most-anticipated major sporting event of 2024 but football’s European Championship will be more important in consumer spending terms. David Walmsley, Research Analyst…

UK Major Sporting Events Market Report 2024

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Report Summary

Stay ahead of the curve and future-proof your business with Mintel’s UK Sporting Events Market Report 2024. Our full report is packed with consumer-led market intelligence, the latest UK sports market research, trends, and consumer behaviours affecting your business. Get a 360° view of the UK sports events industry, including market dynamics and forecasted growth to help you align your business strategy with the needs of your audience.

Below, we’ve handpicked the key insights analysed in the full report and summarised the core topics.

Topics Analysed in this Report

  • Patterns of interest in attending, watching and following major sporting events.
  • Spending intentions around Euro 2024 and the Paris Olympics.
  • The impact of demographic change on major sporting events.
  • Consumer attitudes towards the Olympic Games.
  • Perceptions of major event sponsors.

UK Sporting Events Market Overview

The relative affluence of the UK sports market’s core audience has insulated spending against the worst of the cost of living crisis, while major events staged in the UK have been able to offer a sufficiently wide range of ticket prices to keep them accessible to most. Additionally, the Paris Olympics will be the highest-profile event of 2024.

  • Spectator sports market trends: 63% of UK Brits are expected to follow one or more sports during 2024.

Opportunities for Brands in the UK Sports Events Industry

Olympics will step out of football’s shadow

The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will generate huge goodwill among sports fans and offer marketing opportunities around sports that are overshadowed by football throughout the rest of the major event cycle. The Olympics will generate mass interest and prioritise younger audiences who are ready to watch and participate in new sports.

  • UK sports market consumer behaviour: 39% of UK adults intend of following the Olympics in 2024 versus 37% of Men’s football.

Sustainability and younger crowds

Sustainability and environmental impact is now a big issue for major spectator sport events. The funding, resource and expertise of commercial partners should be part of these efforts and will be rewarded by increased favourability among the younger audiences.

  • Spectator sports market trends statistics: 60% of all sports fans believing events should be more sustainable.

Purchase our UK Sporting Events Market Report to receive a five-year forecast, consumer behaviour analysis, and recommendations for market opportunities. Readers of this report may also be interested in our UK Women’s Sports Influencers Market Report 2024, or our range of Sports Market Research.

Events & Brands Mentioned in the Full Report

Team GB, Olympics, Commonwealth, World Friendship Games, Google Pixel, Budweisier, Weetabix, Krispy Kremes, TikTok, Natwest, and many more.

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Expert Insights from a Retail Analyst

This report, written by David Walmsley, a leading research analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight trends in UK sports market and add expert context to the numbers.

The Paris Olympics are the most-anticipated major sporting event of 2024 but football’s European Championship will be more important in consumer spending terms.

David Walmsley - Research Analyst

David Walmsley
Research Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary

    • Opportunities in the major sporting events market
    • Olympics will help more sports step out of football’s long shadow
    • Focus on value to capture Euro spending
    • Support sustainability to connect with younger event crowds
    • Market dynamics and outlook
    • Market predictions
    • Major events reach more than three in five adults
    • Graph 1: interest in major sporting events, 2024
    • Women’s football World Cup is sport’s biggest TV event of the year
    • Graph 2: peak viewing figures for live sports events, 2023
    • Demographic change gives major events a value versus volume challenge
    • Graph 3: projected age structure of the 15+ population, 2028
    • Euro 2028 heads UK’s hosting calendar
    • What consumers want and why
    • Lack of men’s football limits major event interest
    • Graph 4: interest in major sporting events held in 2023
    • A bigger year in prospect ahead
    • Graph 5: interest in major sporting events being held in 2024
    • Major events hold most value as a TV product
    • Graph 6: methods of following major sporting events, 2024
    • More people ready to spend on Euros than Olympics
    • Graph 7: major sporting event spending intentions, 2024
    • Olympic audiences open to watching new sports
    • Graph 8: interest in new Olympic sports, 2024
    • Games can draw on deep pool of goodwill
    • Innovation and marketing
    • Sports market disruption reaches major events
    • Athletes at the centre of brand marketing around 2024 Olympic Games
  2. Market Dynamics

    • Market background
    • UK’s major sporting events worth £373 million in 2023
    • Graph 9: economic impact of government-supported major events staged in the UK, by region, 2023
    • Events’ social impacts support equality, diversity, activity and volunteering
    • Major events
    • FIFA Men’s World Cup
    • FIFA Women’s World Cup
    • Summer Olympic Games
    • Winter Olympic Games
    • UEFA Men’s European Championship
    • UEFA Women’s European Championship
    • Rugby World Cup (men’s)
    • Rugby World Cup (women’s)
    • ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup
    • ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup
    • Macro-economic factors
    • Inflation is still the key factor affecting consumers’ finances
    • Graph 10: CPI inflation rate, 2021-24
    • Interest rates expected to fall in 2024, but borrowing pressures will remain
    • Consumer sentiment: the recovery is continuing…
    • Graph 11: the financial wellbeing index, 2016-23
    • …and people feel more confident about their financial prospects
    • Graph 12: the financial confidence index, 2016-23
    • Major events have scope to set accessible pricing policies
    • Graph 13: major sporting event spending intentions, by household income, 2024
    • Social, environmental and legal factors
    • Major events drive interest in sport
    • Major events reach mass audiences…
    • Graph 14: experience of live sport, 2018-23
    • …thanks primarily to free TV
    • Graph 15: peak viewing figures for live sports events, 2023
    • But only the very biggest events have protected status
    • Don’t throw the baby boomers out with the bathwater
    • Graph 16: projected age structure of the 15+ population, 2028
    • Segment major event experiences to appeal to young and old
    • Graph 17: interest in major sporting events, by age, 2024
    • Media and attendance trends follow the major event calendar
    • Olympics and Euros set up a major summer of sport
    • Global competition threatens UK’s hosting ambitions
    • Euro 2028 heads next generation of UK events
    • Help major events address their sustainability issues
  3. What Consumers Want and Why

    • Most popular major sporting events
    • Some major events are more major than others
    • Free TV coverage failed to boost interest in 2023
    • Graph 18: interest in major sporting events held in 2023
    • Youngest fans have narrowest interests
    • Graph 19: Number of major events followed in 2023, by age
    • Partner with major events to reach better-off consumers
    • Graph 20: interest in major sporting events held in 2023, by socio-economic status and annual household income,
    • A bigger year for major events ahead
    • Graph 21: interest in major sporting events being held in 2024
    • Use the Olympic Games to reach older audiences…
    • Graph 22: interest in major sporting events being held in 2024, by generation
    • …and female ones
    • Graph 23: Interest in the 2024 Olympic Games and football European Championship, by demographics, 2024
    • Major women’s football events connect with a younger, more female crowd
    • Graph 24: Interest in major football events, 2023 and 2024
    • Experiencing major sporting events
    • TV coverage is most people’s window onto the world of major events
    • Graph 25: methods of following major sporting events held in 2023
    • Market’s core demographic is aged 25-34
    • Graph 26: 25-34-year-olds’ share of 2023 major sports event following segments
    • Gen Z turns away from TV
    • Look beyond broadcasting to reach younger fans
    • Graph 27: Broadcast audience for major events held in 2023, by age
    • Older followers stick to traditional media
    • Graph 28: following major sporting events held in 2023 via media
    • Major event spending intentions
    • More people ready to spend on Euros than Olympics
    • Target younger adults for Olympic food and alcohol sales
    • Graph 29: major event spending intentions, food and drink, 2024
    • Sponsors can offer value through merchandise in cost of living crisis
    • Graph 30: major event spending intentions, merchandise, 2024
    • Euros are a better bet than Olympics for the gambling market
    • Graph 31: major event spending intentions, betting, 2024
    • Interest in new Olympic sports
    • Olympic audiences open to watching new sports
    • Graph 32: interest in new Olympic sports, 2024
    • Paris programme should raise Gen Z interest…
    • Graph 33: interest in new Olympic sports within Generation Z, 2024
    • …but Generation X can get on board with skating, surfing and breaking too
    • Graph 34: Interest in new Olympic sports within Generation X, 2024
    • Attitudes towards the Olympic Games
    • Olympics roll in on tide of goodwill
    • Graph 35: attitudes towards the Olympic Games, 2024
    • Olympic ideals chime with younger fans’ values
    • Graph 36: support for National Lottery funding of Team GB Olympic athletes, 2024
    • Games sponsors well placed to win favourability among fans
    • Graph 37: positive sentiment towards Olympic sponsors, 2024
  4. Innovation And Marketing Trends

    • Launch activity and innovation
    • Brand new look for Team GB
    • Olympic broadcasting gets cinema quality
    • Commonwealth Games struggling for hosts
    • New properties take disruption to the top
    • Advertising and marketing activity
    • Sport’s showpiece occasions offer major opportunities for sponsors
    • Women’s World Cup draws big-name brands
    • Budweiser: Chasing greatness
    • Google Pixel: Football on Pixel
    • Athletes at centre of Olympic activations
  5. Appendix

    • Report scope and definitions
    • Market definition
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Methodology
    • Consumer research methodology

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


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*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

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