Business

UK sports attendances top 70m in 2015, says Deloitte

Sam Whitelock of New Zealand and Dean Mumm of Australia compete for the ball during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The world cup boosted rugby union attendances by 50% in 2015

Attendances at professional sports events in the UK topped 70 million this year, up 5% on 2014, according to Deloitte's sports business group.

Football was the overall winner in the attendance stakes at 43.4 million, while three of the 10 best attended showpieces were horseracing events.

Rugby union attendances, boosted by the 2.5 million fans at the Rugby World Cup, climbed to 7.5 million.

This year's total was less than the 75 million at UK sports events in 2012.

However, that year was boosted by 11 million visitors to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

'Flagship events'

Excluding the Rugby World Cup, the 10 most popular individual sporting events of 2015 had a combined attendance of 2.5 million, with Wimbledon topping the list again.

The tennis tournament attracted just under half a million spectators during the fortnight.

In terms of attendees-per-event-day, Formula 1's British Grand Prix was the winner, averaging more than 100,000 per day.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sergio Perez of the Force India team at Silverstone in July

Referring to the popularity of horseracing events, Alan Switzer, director in Deloitte's sports business group, said: "British racecourses are on track for record attendances of 6.2 million in 2015.

"Flagship events such as Royal Ascot, the Cheltenham Festival and the Epsom Derby are firmly established in the top tier of best-attended annual UK sporting events, whilst the breadth and depth of other meetings throughout the year ensure horseracing remains one of the UK's most popular spectator sports."

Cycling championships

Two new individual events entered the top 10 best-attended sporting events in 2015: MotoGP's British Grand Prix (154,000) and the Badminton Horse Trials (147,000).

These events replaced the Ryder Cup and Aintree Grand National from 2014.

Deloitte said that although overall attendances for the year fell short of the record of 75 million set in 2012, taking away the one-off effects of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that year, and the Rugby World Cup in 2015, attendances rose by 6% across the period.

Major sporting events in the UK next year include the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, the European Aquatics Championships and the FIH Women's Champions Trophy in hockey.

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