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UK Spectator Sports market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Spectator Sports market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this Report

This report focuses on UK adults’ experience of watching live spectator sport, either at an event venue, on television or via the internet. Listening to live radio commentary and watching television highlights or live coverage on a time-shift basis are not included in the core definition of the report.

Except where indicated, market value estimations comprise consumer expenditure on sports event tickets only. Spending on sports television and internet service subscriptions is excluded, as is secondary expenditure at spectator sports venues (on food, beverages, merchandise etc).

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by David Walmsley, a leading analyst in the Leisure sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Live streaming shows growing potential to open spectator sports to a wider range of demographics, while stadium operators can turn to good old-fashioned atmosphere to help event attendance stand out from the leisure crowd. David Walmsley
Senior Leisure Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Football drives up market value
              • Figure 1: Forecast of consumer expenditure on sports event tickets, 2012-22
            • Crowd numbers strong and rising
              • Figure 2: UK spectator sports attendances, by leading segments, 2015-16
            • Streaming’s rising tide
              • Figure 3: Most-streamed television sports programmes, 2016
            • The consumer
              • Two thirds of adults watch live sport
                • Figure 4: Experience of live sport, August 2017
              • Tennis a strong second seed behind football favourite
                • Figure 5: Sports watched live, August 2017
              • Television for reach, mobile for depth
                • Figure 6: Methods of watching live sport, August 2017
              • The ultimate loyalty scheme
                • Figure 7: Frequency of watching live sport, August 2017
              • There’s nothing like being there
                • Figure 8: Appeal of live event attendance, August 2017
              • Big savings from small screens
                • Figure 9: Appeal of live sports broadcasts, August 2017
              • What we think
              • Issues and Insights

                • Going back to basics helps stadiums stay ahead of screens
                  • The facts
                    • The implications
                      • Live streams and television – opportunity or threat?
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                            • Football drives up market value
                              • Crowd numbers strong and rising
                                • Targets for ticketing led by value and cost
                                  • Streaming’s rising tide
                                    • New formats to draw new crowds
                                    • Market Size and Forecast

                                      • Football up front as market kicks on
                                        • Figure 10: Consumer expenditure on sports event tickets, 2012-22
                                      • Forecast
                                        • Figure 11: Forecast of consumer expenditure on sports event tickets, 2012-22
                                      • Forecast methodology
                                      • Market Segmentation

                                        • Crowd numbers strong and rising
                                          • Figure 12: UK spectator sport attendances, by leading segments, 2014-16
                                        • Football
                                          • Figure 13: English league football attendances, 2012/13-2016/17
                                          • Figure 14: English league football attendances, by division, 2012/13-2016/17
                                        • Horseracing
                                          • Figure 15: Horseracing attendances, 2013-17
                                        • Cricket
                                          • Figure 16: International and first-class cricket attendances, 2013-17
                                        • Rugby union
                                          • Figure 17: Premiership rugby union attendances, 2012/13-2016/17
                                        • Rugby league
                                          • Figure 18: Super League attendances, 2013-17
                                        • Tennis
                                          • Figure 19: UK tennis tournament attendances, 2013-17
                                          • Figure 20: UK tennis attendances, by tournament, 2013-17
                                        • Golf
                                          • Figure 21: Major UK golf tournament attendances, 2013-17
                                      • Market Drivers

                                        • Cost and value frame ticket pricing debate
                                            • Figure 22: Highest and lowest ticket prices at selected UK sports events, 2017
                                          • More investment in new facilities
                                              • Figure 23: English league football clubs’ expenditure on stadia and other facilities, 2014/15-2015/16
                                            • Major events keep on coming
                                                • Figure 24: Major world and continental sports events to be staged in the UK, 2018-21
                                              • Streaming model holds water as TV audiences stagnate
                                                  • Figure 25: Most-streamed television sports programmes, 2016
                                                • Artificial intelligence and virtual reality bring the stadium to the fans
                                                • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                  • New formats seek new audiences
                                                    • Make the jersey your own
                                                      • Mobile ticketing opens new marketing channels
                                                        • Standing out from the crowd
                                                          • Making a date with long-distance lovers
                                                            • Big match experience
                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Two thirds of adults watch live sport
                                                                • Tennis a strong second seed behind football favourite
                                                                  • Television for reach, mobile for depth
                                                                    • Loyalty breeds commitment
                                                                      • Oh, what an atmosphere!
                                                                        • Big savings from the small screen
                                                                        • Sports Fans

                                                                          • Major events pull in the crowds
                                                                            • Figure 26: Experience of live sport, August 2017
                                                                          • New media experiences for those priced out of the stadium
                                                                              • Figure 27: Experience of live sport, by gross household income and socio-economic status, August 2017
                                                                          • Most Popular Sports

                                                                            • Football and tennis make it a two-horse race
                                                                              • Figure 28: Sports watched live, August 2017
                                                                            • Youth versus experience
                                                                                • Figure 29: Sports watched live, by age, August 2017
                                                                            • Experience of Live Sport

                                                                              • As seen on TV
                                                                                  • Figure 30: Methods of watching live sport, August 2017
                                                                                • Social sport as family time
                                                                                    • Figure 31: Methods of watching live sport, by parental status, August 2017
                                                                                • Frequency of Watching

                                                                                  • The ultimate loyalty scheme
                                                                                      • Figure 32: Frequency of watching live sport, August 2017
                                                                                    • Power of stadium and streaming beats reach of TV
                                                                                      • Figure 33: Frequency of watching live sport, by methods of watching live sport, August 2017
                                                                                  • Promoting Event Attendance

                                                                                    • There’s nothing like being there
                                                                                        • Figure 34: Appeal of live event attendance, August 2017
                                                                                      • Authentic experiences to bridge the generation gap
                                                                                          • Figure 35: Appeal of live event attendance, August 2017
                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Live Broadcast Sport

                                                                                        • Cutting cords, cutting costs
                                                                                            • Figure 36: Appeal of live sports broadcasting, August 2017
                                                                                          • A confluence of online interests surfaces around the stream
                                                                                              • Figure 37: Appeal of live sports broadcasting, by method of viewing, August 2017
                                                                                          • Appendix

                                                                                            • Data sources
                                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                                • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Forecast of consumer expenditure on sports event tickets, 2017-22