Wimbledon tops most-attended list as British fans continue to flock to live sport

Frank Dalleres
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Day Thirteen: The Championships - Wimbledon 2016
Almost half a million spectators flocked to Wimbledon in 2016 (Source: Getty)

Britons snapped up tickets for live sporting events at a rate of more than one for every person in the country this year, according to research published today by Deloitte.

Attendances reached 69.8m in 2016 and were only 700,000 down on last year’s figures, despite the lack of a major showpiece event such as the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Football matches remained by far the best attended sport, with 45.2m tickets sold – more than half of which were for fixtures in the Premier League or Championship.

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Horse racing and equestrian meetings were the next most popular, contributing total attendances of 7.4m and multi-day events such as Royal Ascot and the Badminton Horse Trials comprising five of the top 10 most attended events.

Wimbledon was again comfortably the biggest draw for British attendees, with 494,000 tickets sold for the two weeks of action, while the ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 also pulled in 252,000.

“Live professional sports attendances of almost 70m means that 2016 has been another hugely successful year for sport in the UK,” said Dan Jones of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

“The fact that the total is so high, despite the absence of hosting any major one-off global events, is a reflection of the UK public’s enduring appetite for watching live sport.”

Most attended annual sports events in the UK 2016

Rank Sport Event Aggregate attendance Duration
1 Tennis Wimbledon 494,000 14 days
2 Motor sport British Grand Prix 327,000 3 days
3 Horse racing Royal Ascot 295,000 5 days
4 Horse racing Cheltenham Festival 261,000 4 days
5 Tennis ATP World Tour Finals 252,000 8 days
6 Golf The Open 173,000 8 days
7 Equestrian Badminton Horse Trials 160,000 5 days
8 Motor sport MotoGP 156,000 3 days
9 Equestrian Burghley Horse Trials 155,000 4 days
10 Horse racing Epsom Derby Festival 154,000 2 days

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