UK Sport has published the results of its Return To Major Sports Events survey, which found that an overwhelming 97 per cent of sports fans will attend live events again.

More than 50,000 sports fans from across the UK responded to the survey with 97 per cent stating that they felt comfortable returning to major sports events in the future and 75 per cent of these happy to do so within the next four months in line with the Government roadmap for easing restrictions.

Sports fans also responded favourably at 99 per cent to attending a sports event held outdoors or in an outdoor stadium while 88 per cent suggested that they would also consider spectating in an indoor arena at this time.

The impact of major events on the spirit of the nation also scored highly with 97 per cent of sports fans agreeing that they are good for morale with the buzz of live sporting action, supporting their favourite athlete or team and being at events with family/friends among the things missed most.

The Return To Major Sports Events survey was shared with more than 30 different sports organisations in two phases – the first in summer 2020, and the most recent survey from March 8 to 31, 2021 and aimed to capture public sentiment on the return of major sports events during the coronavirus pandemic. Other key findings from the survey were:

  • More than 70 per cent of sports fans are excited to attend major sports events again. Positively, only 22 per cent state they might feel anxious when attending.
  • A clear refund policy is the main driver for spectators feeling confident to purchase a ticket, closely followed by being able to avoid long queues and the availability of hand sanitiser.
  • Travelling to the event using public transports still raises concerns, with 60 per cent of people saying it would possibly stop them from attending.
  • Fifty-eight per cent of respondents hold the event organiser primarily responsible for maintaining a COVID-safe environment at a major event.
  • Overall, the health and safety measures expected in relation to the prevention of the virus spread are all rated as statistically important.

Within the next four months, as technology, science and public understanding advances rapidly in relation to appropriate COVID mitigation methods, the message to event organisers is that safety measures are important to spectators. The measures that are most trusted and habitualised in wider society at the time of the event will likely be what fans will look for to feel more confident to attend.

Esther Britten, acting deputy director of Major Events at UK Sport, said: “It is a really significant moment to be publishing the results of our Return to Major Sports Events survey and I would like to thank each and every sports fan that gave up their time to take part and those organisations that supported us in getting such a strong response.

“UK Sport will continue to explore all options with Government on how to support the sector and bring spectators back into sporting venues safely and in line with the roadmap for easing restrictions. What is clear from the survey is that spectating at major events is about more than just watching sport; it brings people together, united under a shared purpose and part of something bigger than the individual.

“While the magic of being part of a crowd has not been possible for much of the past year, the results from this survey are positive for the future of the sports and events sector as they clearly show that fans are committed to return to events as they cautiously begin to reopen.”

To read the full report on the Return To Major Sports Events survey, please click here.