Almost 75 million tickets were sold for professional sports events in the UK in 2017, according to analysis by the Deloitte Sports Business Group. This is an increase of seven per cent on last year’s figure of 69.8 million, supplemented by the UK hosting several major international tournaments. It is also the largest recorded total since London hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
The top 10 most attended annual sporting events held in the UK in 2017 pulled in cumulative crowds of almost 2.5 million people. The IAAF World Athletics Championships in London proved to be the most popular single event this year, attracting more than 700,000 spectators.
More than half of the top ten annual events in 2017 were horse racing or equestrian based. Royal Ascot again came out on top in this category with a total attendance of 294,000 over five days. The Cheltenham Festival achieved a higher average daily attendance of 65,000 racegoers per day across the four day event.
Alan Switzer, director of the Sports Business Group, commented: “The UK public clearly has an enduring love of horse racing, with around six million racegoers in 2017. The industry should be buoyed by the fact that Royal Ascot, the Cheltenham Festival and the Epsom Derby continue to be some of the highlights of the UK sporting calendar.”
Dan Jones, partner of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, added: “2017 has proven to be a stellar year for live professional sport in the UK, with total attendances just shy of 2012’s record year. Despite rising inflation, limited real wage growth and squeezed household incomes, the fact that the UK public is continuing to show strong appetite for watching live sport is reassuring to see.”
The UK sporting calendar in 2018 includes the FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup in London, and the inaugural multi-sport European Championships part hosted in Glasgow. Further afield, all eyes will turn to Russia as Gareth Southgate leads England into the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals.