UK sports attendances top 67m in 2014, says Deloitte

Athletes salute the Commonwealth Games crowd in Glasgow Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Commonwealth Games was Scotland's biggest-ever sporting event

Attendances at professional sports events in the UK topped 67 million in 2014, according to analysis by Deloitte's sports business group.

Football was the overall winner in the attendance stakes (42.8 million), but five of the 10 best attended showpieces were horseracing and equestrian events.

Meanwhile, the 1.3 million tickets sold for the 11-day Commonwealth Games made it Scotland's biggest-ever sport event.

This year's total is 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.

Deloitte says that stripping out London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, attendances at all other professional sports events grew by 3% over the two years.

'High quality meetings'

Excluding Glasgow 2014, the top 10 best attended individual sporting events of the year had a combined attendance of 2.5 million, with Wimbledon topping the list.

Scotland also hosted another major sports event in 2014, golf's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. The 240,000 attending that contest, including practice days, made it the fifth-best attended sporting event of the year.

Referring to the popularity of equine events, Alan Switzer, director in the Sports Business Group, said: "Horseracing continues to be the UK's second most popular sport, after football, in terms of attendances.

"No other nation in the world can boast of having such a high quality and varied set of meetings."

Meanwhile, rugby union attendances reached 4.9 million overall in 2013-14, and are expected to increase next year in the run up to the Rugby World Cup in autumn 2015.

Free viewing

Other major sporting events in the UK next year include the Ashes, the European Rugby Champions and Challenge Cup finals, the World Gymnastics Championships, the European Eventing Championships and the Euro Hockey Championships.

Deloitte's 2014 attendance figures do not include the three UK stages of the 2014 Tour de France "due to attendance being largely free of charge".

But it says crowds totalling some 4.8 million lined the route around Yorkshire and between Cambridge and London across the three days. In addition, large crowds in Northern Ireland also supported three stages of the Giro d'Italia.

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