New research is indicating that young fans are boosting UK sports attendance figures. Two Circles, an online sports marketing agency, predicts that about 74.8 million people will purchase sporting event tickets in 2018. This is a sharp rise compared to the 63 million tickets during 2012 in which the London Olympics were held.
The percentage of millennials i.e. people born between 1981 and 1996 purchasing tickets for sporting events has risen from 16% of the aggregate buyers in 2012 to 21% in 2018.
Two Circles anticipates that the total income from sporting event attendances in 2018 will amount to £1.9 billion in the UK’s experience economy.
The younger fans are the driving force behind the increasingly important experience economy. The preference for sharing their sporting event experience with acquaintances on social media appears to be their primary motivation. Gareth Balch, Chief Executive of Two Circles, explained that in the present environment where smart phones, smart TVs and brief attention spans are transforming attitudes, sports entertainment is one of the select few sources of entertainment that can’t be shared on “Instagram” with family and friends.
Those sporting event organizers, who understand what their audiences, are successfully modifying their events to create the appropriate live experience that will ensure the return of fans and an increasingly bigger fan base. This applies, in particular, to the younger members of the audience.
Football ranks as the number one sport in the UK where it accounts for over two-thirds of attendance. This is driven by the growing popularity of the English Premier League. The League showcases top flight clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, which are top European clubs. Even the skirmishes of bottom ten clubs are thrilling encounters because the bottom three teams will be relegated to a second tier league. The EPL initially started as the FA Premier League in 1992 which was a breakaway body from the Football League that was originally founded in 1888. It is the most watched league in the world with a fan base of possibly up to 4 billion people. The average attendance is above 36,000 which is second place to the Bundesliga’s match attendances of 43,000. The matches are always nearly at full capacity. The English Premier League has seen some of the biggest transfer fees in the European market in the past.
Other sporting events with high percentage of attendances include horse racing, cricket and rugby.