Rugby league the fifth most attended sport in UK in 2018

Drew Darbyshire

Rugby league was the fifth most attended sport in the UK in 2018, with 2.2 million.

That’s just over 2% of the total ticketed attendance of UK sport.

Young sports fans are driving strong growth in attendance at sports events in the UK, according to new research.

Around 74.8 million are expected to buy tickets for professional sports events in 2018, suggest digital sports marketing agency Two Circles.

That figure is up from 63 million in 2012 – the year of the London Olympics.

Younger fans are the main drivers of the so-called experience economy, where they can share attended events on social media.

Two Circles chief executive Gareth Balch said: “In a world of smartphones, on-demand TV and short attention spans, sport remains one of the few sources of ‘Instagrammable’ entertainment that we can experience with friends, family, or on our own.

“The sports rights-holders prospering most are those who have understood what their audiences – and increasingly younger audiences – want from a live experience, adapting their product where required to ensure fans return, or creating new events to grow their fan base.”

Rugby league are fifth in the figures, behind football, horse racing, rugby union and cricket – in that order.