Out of 17 sports we put to the British public, only five were seen by more people as more exciting than boring
For everyone who has ever been crestfallen to find their TV monopolised by sports fans for hours at a time, or been reluctantly dragged along to a sporting event by a partner, YouGov has some solace for you: you are not alone.
The fact is, Brits tend to find a lot of sports boring. In a bid to find out which are the most exciting and boring sports to watch, YouGov Omnibus asked the British public about 17 sports and found that for 12 of them those who had watched them were more likely to find them boring than exciting.
But which is the sport most likely to send Brits to sleep, and which the most likely to have them on their feet, shouting at the TV?
Golf is Britain’s most boring sport
The adage that golf is a way of ruining a good walk has been misattributed to both Mark Twain and Winston Churchill over the years. However, the sentiment remains strong with the British public, and YouGov can crown golf as Britain’s most boring sport. Overall, 70% of Brits who have ever watched the sport say that it is boring (including 52% who say it is very boring).
Golf holds a long lead over the next most boring sports. American Football is the second most snooze-worthy sport, being branded boring by 59% of people who have ever watched it, followed closely by cricket (58%), darts (also 58%) and snooker (57%).
Athletics is Britain’s most exciting sport
At the other end of the league table, the British public find athletics to be the most exciting sport, with 47% of those who have watched it finding it thrilling.
It is followed in joint-second place by football and tennis, which 43% find exciting (and with football being the sport the highest number of people finding “very exciting”, at 20%).
While it may be seen as the second most exciting sport, football is also Britain’s most divisive support. It is the sport that viewers are least likely to sit on the fence about (84% find it boring/exciting, only 16% find it neither or don’t know), and opinions are near evenly matched – the 43% who find it exciting are countered by 40% who find it boring.
Rugby Union vs Rugby League
The survey pitted rival rugby variants League and Union against one another, with Union emerging as the more exciting of the two. More than four in ten (41%) of those who have watched Union find the sport exciting compared to a third (34%) of those who have watched League.
There is a notable geographical difference in opinion, with Northerners being less likely to find Union exciting (33%, compared to 42-51% of other Brits). However, Northerners aren't especially more likely to say League is any better than Union, with excitement figures being largely tied at 36% and 33% respectively. Nor is the 36% of Northerners who find League exciting distinct from the other regions and nations of Britain, where the rate is 31-37%.