Tennis and athletics are the British people’s favourite sports to watch, overall - although football tops the list for men
It’s the summer of sport, so as Wimbledon rolls into the Ashes and the Grand Prix fades into the Tour de France, YouGov asks the public which sports they can’t take their eyes off of and which ones send them to sleep.
YouGov asked British adults how interesting or boring they find watching 12 top British sports on television. The top three most gripping, and the only ones where ‘interesting’ scores exceed ‘boring’ scores, are tennis (59%-37%), athletics (58%-39%) and football (50%-47%).
Golf is by far the most boring sport to the British public, with less than a quarter (23%) finding it interesting and nearly three quarters (74%) finding it boring. And despite the broad coverage of the Ashes, cricket isn’t far behind with an interesting to boring score of 32%-65%.
Some stereotypes about the sports that go with politics appear to be close to the mark. Conservatives are less than half as likely as Labour voters to find motor racing boring: the net score for Conservatives is -6%, while for Labour it is -14%. And the same goes for snooker; while Labour voters place snooker fairly high on their lists with a net score of -14%, Conservatives are turned off by it, with a net score of -33%.
Swimming, it turns out, is far more compelling to women than it is to men: while 43% of women find it interesting and 53% boring, 69% of men find it tedious while just 28% think it’s exciting. And football, of course, is ranked as the most interesting sport to men and ranks only fourth for women.
In keeping with YouGov’s findings, the Wimbledon final won by Andy Murray attracted the most TV ratings of the year so far. 17.3 million viewers tuned in; more than twice the population of London. Also correlating with the poll, last year a total of 51.9 million people watched at least 15 minutes of the Olympics, which is believed to be the most sustained period of TV watching since the mid-1990s.