FIFA World Cup surges in popularity among Britons

February 18, 2019, 5:00 PM GMT+0

FIFA World Cup makes a remarkable comeback

This year, the FIFA World Cup took first place on YouGov Sport’s (SMG Insight) SportsIndex list of the top sports teams, events and leagues – making a comeback from almost bottom of the rankings at 56th place to first this year, with a score of +42.5.

Continuing the good news for football, England’s National Football Team also returned a record score, propelling them into the top ten for the very first time with a score of +30.7.

YouGov SportsIndex measures the public’s perception of sports teams, events and leagues on a daily basis over the duration of 2018, compiling the highest four-week average Buzz scores recorded into the SportsIndex Buzz Report. Buzz scores measure whether people have heard anything good or bad about an event or sports property during the past two weeks.

2018 was a good year for international sports events, with some major events earning positions in the top ten including the Winter Olympics (+37.6), the Commonwealth Games (+27.8) and the Six Nations Rugby Championship (+25.4). However, this did come at the expensive of some domestic properties, with Wimbledon (+31.2), The FA Cup (+12.3) and the English Premier League (+11.9) all falling slightly in the rankings. Wimbledon was the highest ranking domestic property.

Calculating an average score over a four-year cycle for each mega-event, it’s the Summer Paralympic Games which scored the most highly, beating the Summer Olympics into second place. In general, annual events recorded the highest average scores. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games still set the benchmark for the most positive mega-event, however.

Free-to-air events make up all of the top six and seven of the top ten ranked events, suggesting a strong relationships between accessibility and positive buzz.

Events which have strong British elements tend to perform better, according to the data. The British Sky Team’s wins in the Tour de France led to the Tour’s placement in the top ten (+21.2), the Ryder Cup ranks higher when Europe wins (+19.1 in 2018) and tennis events in general rank higher when British players perform well, suggesting the best investments to be made in British sports events are in British athletes.

To download the full report, click here.

Data gathered using YouGov SportsIndex.