2023 Sports Viewership Statistics: How Many People Watch Sports? - Come To Play (2023)

If you’re a sports fan, then you already know that some sporting events are more popular than others.

But do you know which events have the most viewers?

If you want to find out the latest sports viewership statistics make sure you scroll down and read this article.

Eight Eye-Opening Sports Viewership Statistics

  • The Euro 2020 Final brought in a peak audience of 31 million viewers on BBC and ITV.
  • With 3.5 billion viewers, the Tour de France is the most-watched sporting event across the world.
  • An average of 4.7 billion people worldwide watch the Premier League every year.
  • 32% of UK adults never watch live sports on TV.
  • The NFL generates $4.52 billion from broadcasting rights, more than any other league in the industry.
  • The number of TV sports viewers dropped across all sports in 2020.
  • 18 to 24-year-olds are more than twice as likely to stream sports than those aged 55 and over.
  • 73% of sports fans in the UK want to watch sports on OTT platforms.

Sports Viewership Statistics in 2021

1. The Euro 2020 Final brought in a peak audience of 31 million viewers on BBC and ITV.

(The Guardian) (BBC) (The Times)

Nearly 31 million Brits watched England lose to Italy, not including streaming services (the BBC alone had 6.9 million requests to its iPlayer stream) or people watching the match in public spaces.That said the EURO final was the most-watched sporting event in 2021.

The BBC’s coverage of the match peaked at 25 million viewers during penalties, whereas ITV recorded 6 million peak viewers.

This game outdid both the England vs Denmark semi-finals match and England vs Ukraine, which recorded average audiences of 23.86 million and 20.9 million, respectively.

2. Which is the most-watched sporting event in the world?

(Roadtrips) (Statista) (MansionBet) (ICC Cricket)

(Video) IPL 2023 Jio Cinema vs Star Sports

With 3.5 billion viewers, the Tour de France is the most-watched sporting event across the world. The annual bicycle competition attracts massive audiences every year, bringing in 150 million viewers in Europe alone in 2021. On the list of most-watched sports worldwide, this preeminent cycling event is followed by:

  • The FIFA World Cup—3.3 billion viewers. The FIFA World Cup is one of the most popular sports events in the world, especially in the UK. In fact, the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final is still the most-watched sporting event in UK TV history. Back then, 32.20 million people watched England beat rivals West Germany 4-2.
  • The Cricket World Cup—2.6 billion viewers. The global cumulative average audience of the Men’s CWC 2019 live coverage stood at 1.6 billion viewers, while the event was watched for a longer amount than ever before, amassing 13.7 billion global viewing hours.

Other sports on the list include the World Series in baseball (14.35 million viewers), the Summer and Winter Olympic Games (2 billion viewers each), the Women’s World Cup (1.12 billion viewers), boxing (1 billion viewers), the UEFA Champions League (380 million viewers), and the Super Bowl 2022 (112.3 million viewers.

Finally, NASCAR viewership numbers have risen by 12% from 2019 and 31% from 2020.

3. How many people watch the Premier League?

(Sporting Index)

Based on soccer viewership statistics, an average of 1.9 million people in the UK watched Premier League matches live on Sky Sports during the 2019/20 season.

2.7 million, on the other hand, watched the first game of the resumed season, broadcast on 17th June 2020. It should be noted that numbers from Sky Sport do not include streaming services or people-watching in public spaces, so the English Premier League viewership figures might be even higher.

4. How many people watch sports in the UK?


According to Statista, 20% of British fans spend less than one hour a week watching football matches live on TV.

Sports viewership statistics from the UK, show that the number of UK football fans who spent one to two hours a week watching matches live on TV reduced from 37% before the pandemic to 26% after COVID-19. The number of fans who watched more than five hours of football games on the telly remained the same before and after the coronavirus pandemic—11%.

5. 32% of UK adults never watch live sports on TV.


On the other hand, 16% said they watch live sports on TV at least once a month, and a further 26% stated that they tune in to sports events at least once a week, results from a Statista survey reveal.

6. How many people watch eSports?


(Video) I found out what the most POPULAR sports are 😳⚽️

Projected to reach an amazing 465 million viewers by the end of the year, eSports viewing numbers have skyrocketed lately. On that note, the number of eSports enthusiasts, i.e. those that watch more than once a month, is expected to go up to 229.6 million, an 8.7% year-on-year increase, whereas the number of casual viewers is projected to reach 235.5 million by the end of 2021.

Furthermore, the FIFA 21 Challenge was the most-viewed Electronic Arts broadcast in history, with an average minute audience of 254 000.

7. The NFL generates $4.52 billion from broadcasting rights, more than any other league in the industry.


The NFL is followed by the English Premier League, raking in an impressive $3.83 billion from broadcasting rights. The NBA ($3.12 billion) is third, while Spanish La Liga ($2.27 billion) and MLB ($1.65 billion) round off the top five.

8. How many Australians watch sports?


According to Australia sports viewership statistics, 4.2 million individuals in Australia tuned into each AFL game for a total of 75.7 million people throughout the course of the 2020 home and away season.

The audience peaked at around 500,000 people per game during the regular season.

US Sports Viewership Facts and Stats

9. Only 12% of people in the US watch live sports on TV daily.

(Statista) (SportsPro Media)

Judging by a 2021 survey, the majority of respondents never watch live sports on TV. Only a small percentage of people watch sports on the television at least once a day, a trend found across all age groups, i.e. 12% of the 18 to 34 and the 45-64 age bracket each, 15% of 35 to 44-year-olds and 8% of 65+.

Broken down by the average tv ratings by sport, US sport viewership stats look like this:

  • An average of 14.9 million people watched a regular season game in the NFL in 2020. Drawing in more than 100 million viewers in the US, the Super Bowl LIV was the most-watched sports event of the year. It also got the highest TV rating of 41.6, as per American football viewership statistics.
  • The average TV viewership of a regular season game in the NBA stood at 1.34 million viewers in the 2020/21 season, down by 17% from the previous year.
  • The average TV viewership of Stanley Cup games in the US went down to 2.15 million a game in 2020, a significant decrease from the 5.33 million viewers recorded in 2019.
  • Live Sunday night Major League Baseball on ESPN saw an increase in average viewership numbers by 33% in the first two weeks of the 2021 season, going up to 1.58 million viewers from the 1.19 million recorded during the full 2020 season.
  • On July 23, former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm headlined a Fox card in Chicago against one of the hottest UFC fighters, Shevchenko, which was watched by 2.95 million people, making it the tenth-most-watched UFC show on Fox.
  • More than 4 million spectators watch F1 races live on the track.

10. The number of TV sports viewers dropped across almost all sports in 2020.

(The Atlantic)

All sports saw a decline in rating or the number of viewers during 2020. More detailed statistics on sports viewership show ratings for the NBA and NFL Finals going down 51% and 61%, respectively. Ratings for the US Open and Kentucky Derby also declined, with the latter seeing the lowest TV audience in history at just 8.3 million viewers.

(Video) How to speak so that people want to listen | Julian Treasure

11. Networks have more than $140 billion invested in media rights packages with major leagues over the next decade.

(The Hollywood Reporter)

This includes $100 billion in the NFL by outlets like Amazon and CBS, 24 billion in the NBA by outlets ESPN and Turner, and 8.2 billion in stock car racing by outlets like Fox and NBC.

12. How many people watch the NFL draft?

(NFL Communications)

Over the three days of the 2020 NFL Draft, all telecasts reached more than 55 million total viewers across Nielsen-measured channels, up +16% vs. 2019.

13. How many people watch college sports?


The most-watched NCAA football game in 2021 was the match between Ohio State and Michigan and it had almost 16 million viewers.

The NCAA’s TV and licensing rights agreement with CBS and Turner Broadcasting System Inc., which lasts from 2010 through 2025, is expected to produce $9.6 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, according to this statistic. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) made 827 million dollars in revenue in the year 2020 from television broadcast payments and licensing rights. Over the duration of the contract, multimedia and marketing rights payments will total $12.27 billion.

Live Streaming Sports Statistics

14. 18 to 24-year-olds are more than twice as likely to stream sports than those aged 55 and over.


Unsurprisingly, younger generations are more likely to catch up with sporting events on social media (39% of 18 to 24 vs 16% of 55 and over), online (47% vs 22%) or via mobile app (28% vs 11%).

15. Online sports viewership is still lagging behind live TV numbers.


Globally, 65% of adults follow sports on TV and only 39% stream sports. In fact, in every market, watching sports on TV is more popular than streaming, including:

  • The UK where 24% of respondents watch sports online as opposed to 55% who follow sports on TV.
  • The USA—17% stream sports, while 53% watch sports on television.
  • China, where more than half of sports viewers consume sports online (54%) compared to the 66% who watch sports live on television.

16. Amazon and DAZN have emerged as new players on the sports broadcasting scene even before the pandemic.


(Video) I Built a Sports Betting Bot with ChatGPT

In 2019, Amazon bought exclusive broadcasting rights for 20 EPL matches, showing the Boxing Day fixtures on an online streaming channel for the first time in history. Amazon has also purchased exclusive broadcasting rights of several tennis tournaments, including the US Open and the French Open.

DAZN, on the other hand, recently bought the exclusive broadcasting rights for the Brazilian Blast Premier League (engaging in Counter-Strike) as well as rights to show EPL matches in Canada, Spain and Japan.

Sports Viewership Trends

17. 73% of sports fans in the UK want to watch sports on OTT platforms.

(SVG Europe)

A 2021 survey by Grabyo reveals that the majority of British sports fans would give up on watching sports on TV.

The report also shows that:

  • 45% of fans are only paying for streaming services
  • Nearly 50% are watching sports on social media
  • 47% of those who would watch sports exclusively on streaming services are willing to pay up to £10/month, and 38% would pay up to £25/ month for a dedicated service.

18. Online gambling ad sales increased to $154 million in Q1 2021.

(TV Technology)

Going up from just $10.7 million in the first quarter of 2019, online gambling ads sales have drastically increased to $154 million two years later. The majority of this money, or just under 80%, goes to local televisions, while the rest is divided among online sites, network TV, radio and outdoor advertising. Spurred by this development and the fact that as many as 45.33% of Brits bet on sports occasionally, many broadcasters are now seeing a lifeline in the integration of online gambling and traditional TV sports broadcasts.

19. How many people watch Virtual sports events?


Virtual sports and virtual sports betting have been on the rise in the last couple of years.

As a result, in 2020, almost 5 (4.8) million people tuned in to watch the annual Virtual Grand National horse race.

Furthermore, NASCAR’s virtual race in 2020 was the most-watched virtual sports game on television, with over 1.3 million viewers.

Final Thoughts

As these sport viewership statistics clearly show, the number of viewers has significantly dropped in the last two years. The future, however, looks brighter. Sports are back on the schedule, traditional broadcasters are including more coverage of events, including eSports, and betting is becoming integrated with the viewing experience. All that remains is for these trends to boost viewing numbers.

(Video) Who's The GOAT In Every Major Sport?



How many people watch or play sports? ›

In 2021, approximately 57.5 million viewers in the United States watched digital live sports content at least once per month, a number that is projected to rise to over 90 million by 2025.

What percentage of people watch sports? ›

Bonaventure/Siena Research survey reveals 70% of Americans are sports fans, 21% avid; football clearly king. Seventy percent of Americans say they are sports fans, according to a new national survey of more than 3,200 United States residents released today by the Siena College Research Institute and St.

What percentage of people watch sports on TV? ›

Fans can follow their favorite sports, teams and podcasts in a variety of different ways, including live TV, internet and radio. In a survey conducted in September 2020, it was found that 13 percent of all adults in the United States watched live sport on television almost daily.

What is the most people watching a sport? ›

Top 5 most watched sports worldwide
1. Football3.5 billion +
2. Cricket2.5 billion
3. Hockey2 billion
4. Tennis1 billion
5. Volleyball900 million
Mar 15, 2023

What percentage of Canadians watch sports? ›

According to the latest report from the Media Technology Monitor (MTM), more than three quarters of Canadians (77%) follow professional sports.

How many people can watch now sports? ›

How many registered devices can I have, and how many can I watch on at any one time? You can register a maximum of 6 devices on your account, and watch on 1 at a time – unless you've got NOW Boost, which lets you stream on 3 devices at once.

What percentage of people don't play sports? ›

While 40% of 18- 21 year olds and 41% of 22-25 year olds currently play sports, only 26% of 26-49 year olds play sports, and just 20% of adults aged 50+ play sports. About half of adults (48%) say they do vigorous- or moderate-intensity exercise on a regular basis.

Are sports becoming more popular? ›

Team sports participation in the USA increased by 3.2 percent in 2019, largely attributed to growth in the more popular team sports, such as basketball (2.9 percent), outdoor soccer (4.5 percent), flag football (3.2 percent) and lacrosse (0.8 percent).

What percentage of youths play sports? ›

Summary. In 2020, 54.1% of children aged 6-17 years participated in sports in the past 12 months.

How many people play sports in the world? ›

Topline numbers

In 2021, the total number of active sports and fitness participants hit its highest level in six years at 232.6 million, up 7.8% from its low point of 215.8 million in 2016.

Is sports viewership up? ›

The league's national games on ABC, ESPN and TNT are averaging 1.6 million viewers, which the NBA said is up 1 percent over last season, per Nielsen data. Those games also average a 0.9 household Nielsen rating, which is flat to 2021-22.

How much time is spent watching sports? ›

(KNWA/KFTA) — A new nationwide survey revealed that the average American spends 4 hours a week watching live sports, with 1 in 4 watching an excess of 5 hours.

What's the most popular sport in Canada? ›

Ice hockey is considered to be the most popular sport in Canada, as the sport has been named as the official national sport in Canada. The Canadian Ice hockey league, “National Hockey League (NHL)” is established both in Canada and the United States.

What is the most popular sport in the world 2023? ›

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world with approximately 4.0 billion fans, and is particularly popular in Europe, Central and South America and Africa. However, recent years have also seen a growing popularity of football in Oceania, Asia and the United States of America.

What is the #1 sport in the world? ›

Soccer, also known as association football, is by far the most popular sport in the world, despite the fact that it may not be obvious in the United States. Soccer is the most popular sport in practically all of Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, and Asia.

What is Canada most watched sports event? ›

The following is a list of most watched television broadcasts in Canada based on average viewership of the broadcasts. In recent years, the Super Bowl has frequently been the most watched television broadcast of the year in Canada.

What is Canada's most popular spectator sport? ›

The modern form of ice hockey began in Canada in the late 19th century, and is widely considered Canada's national pastime, with high levels of participation by children, men and women at various levels of competition.

Is Canada a sporty country? ›

Canada has a wide range of popular sports from ice hockey to curling. Lacrosse is one of its most popular sports and traditionally has Native American roots. Other popular games include basketball, baseball, football and ice hockey. Lacrosse was declared Canada's national game in 1859.

What is Sky signature? ›

Sky Signature is the base television service on Sky Q. It gives you 300+ channels and a range of add-ons like Ultimate TV, Sky Sports, Sky Cinema & more.

Are NOW TV boxes being discontinued? ›

This box is capable of streaming at 2160p (4K) resolution. NOW TV recently re-branded to NOW has announced late in 2021 that it is discontinuing all NOW hardware products.

How many people can watch sport on Amazon Prime? ›

The number of concurrent streams with the same Amazon account are limited. We allow three concurrent streams within the same Amazon account, and up to two simultaneous streams of the same content. For further help on Live Events, please visit the Live Events Help Hub.

Is sports losing popularity? ›

Sports leagues, especially Major League Baseball, are seeing declines in younger viewership. The change comes as people turn away from traditional TV viewing and toward social media, video games and streaming TV, a trend that has only grown during the Covid-19 pandemic, reports The Wall Street Journal.

How many people do not watch sports? ›

Updated: As rightfully pointed out in the comments, Gallup poll indicates a 44% rate of "not a sports fan". Therefore, likely around 32-44% of the interviewed peope do not regularly follow a sport. However, please note that this percentage is likely an average of both male and female spectators.

Does Gen Z care about sports? ›

Most popular sports among Gen Z in the U.S. 2022

During a 2022 survey of members of Gen Z aged between 13 and 25 in the United States, 53 percent identified themselves as either casual or avid NFL fans. Meanwhile, one fifth of Gen Z respondents were fans of Formula 1.

What is the future of sports viewership? ›

The number of digital viewers of live sports in the U.S. will reach 57.5 million this year and is expected to exceed 90 million in 2025, a 26% projected increase. This jump highlights how quickly content consumption is shifting to become more digital. Here's how the landscape is changing.

What sports have a declining popularity? ›

playoffs, N.H.L. playoffs, Major League Baseball regular season and playoffs, United States Open tennis, United States Open golf, Kentucky Derby, Preakness and college football have all had ratings declines of at least 25 percent compared with 2019.

What percentage of youth play sports in Canada? ›

According to parents, 77% of 5- to 19-year-olds participate in organized physical activities or sports (2014-16 CANPLAY, CFLRI). 66% of students in grades 6 to 10 currently participate in individual and/or team sports, based on self-report data (2018 HBSC, PHAC).

How many kids play sports in Canada? ›

52% of parents indicate that their children are participating in "much more" (32%) or "a little more" (20%) organized sport in 2021 than in 2020, but 20% of families indicate that children's participation in organized sport is even less than in 2020. but 20% report activity levels lower or much lower than in 2020.

What age have 70% of children dropped out of sport? ›

Reason #1 - Sports Are No Longer Fun

Studies from the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) have found that of the 40 million youths who participate in organized sports each year, 70% will drop out before the age of 13!

What is the number 1 hardest sport? ›

According to Sports Virsa, the top 10 hardest sports in the world to play in 2022 are as follows: Boxing (hardest), American football, mixed martial arts, ice hockey, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, wrestling, rugby, and water polo.

What age group plays sports the most? ›

A higher proportion of metropolitan participants were engaged between the ages of 4–13 and 19–29, whereas a higher proportion of non-metropolitan participants played during adolescence (14–18 years) and throughout mature adulthood (30+ years).

Why is watching sports so popular? ›

Watching sports is an activity that brings people together and allows them to share in the joys of the competition. People enjoy watching sports because it provides them with an outlet to de-stress and have some entertainment. For some people, watching sports can even provide some form of catharsis.

When did sports gain popularity? ›

The 1920s has been called the Golden Age of American Sports. It also has been called the Age of the Spectator. The United States had a strong economy for most of that decade. Many workers had more leisure time.

How many people watch NHL in Canada? ›

Stanley Cup viewership in Canada 2022

The Stanley Cup is the National Hockey League's annual playoff tournament which is broadcast to millions of television viewers each year. In 2022, the average minute audience of the final four games of the championship on Sportsnet National+ in Canada reached 1.27 million viewers.

How many people play sports? ›

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.3 percent of the U.S. population was engaged in sports and exercise each day in 2019. Male participation was higher (20.7 percent) than the participation rate of women (18 percent). This included participation in sports, exercise and other active leisure activities.

What is the average age of sports? ›

A regression tree was proposed for each gender to discriminate groups of sport disciplines according to age. The ages ranged from 14.0 to 52.8 years. The 72% of the athletes aged between 20 and 30 years, and the 99% aged below 40 years.

How much do we spend on sports? ›

Americans spend $56 billion on sporting events
Category of spendingPercentage of American adults who spend on itTotal U.S. annual spend ($billions)
Sporting events34%$55.90
Athletic equipment29%$33.40
Gym membership fees23%$19.20
Sports-themed video games12%$8.00
2 more rows
Sep 11, 2017

What is the fastest growing sport in Canada? ›

Cricket Emerges as Canada's Fastest Growing Sport, Research...
  • Shazia Nazir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Milton Reporter Milton Reporter.
  • Mar 26, 2023.
  • 10 hrs ago.
Mar 27, 2023

What sport is getting more popular? ›

Soccer has been increasing in popularity in the United States in recent years. Soccer is played by over 13 million people in the U.S., making it the third-most played sport in the U.S., more widely played than ice hockey and football.

What is the fastest growing sport worldwide? ›

Today padel is the fastest growing sport in the world. Based on racket sales, it is estimated that 12 million people play it. In Spain, it is the second most popular sport after soccer, and in Sweden it is already played by more than 5% of the population.

What sports will be most popular in the future? ›

Soccer, basketball and football are the future of sports for Generation Alpha, survey finds
  • Morning Consult's 2021 survey suggests that Generation Alpha favors basketball, football and soccer, while interest in baseball remains low.
  • The survey showed soccer is the No.
Mar 1, 2021

What is the 2nd most popular sport in the world? ›


What is the highest paid sport? ›

Highest Paying Sports in the World

Basketball is the highest paid sport in the world, with the average annual salary in the NBA in 2023 being nearly $10.5 million.

Is NFL or NBA more popular? ›

The NBA, on the other hand, didn't account for any. “The NBA will continue to have its loyal fanbase and following. But the ratings have spoken, and they say the NFL is still the most popular sport in the United States,” Sportskeeda reported.

Is the most watched and played sport in the world? ›

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and the UEFA Champions League Final is one of its biggest events.

How many people listen to sports? ›

There really is not much else that can take a person away from all the negativity in the world […] in a highly emotionally charged way with a community of individuals that share the passion.” About 24.3 million Americans listen to all sports radio in the U.S., yet despite this popularity and success, people still hold ...

Do more people watch esports or sports? ›

They project that there will be 84 million viewers of esports, higher than the 79 million MLB viewers or the 63 million NBA viewers. This is still dwarfed by the 141 million NFL viewers.
Projected Esports Viewers in the United States in 2021↑
2 more rows

What is the most played sport in the world 2023? ›

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world with approximately 4.0 billion fans, and is particularly popular in Europe, Central and South America and Africa. However, recent years have also seen a growing popularity of football in Oceania, Asia and the United States of America.

Which sport has most fans? ›

Cricket. It is no surprise to see Cricket occupying the number 1 spot amongst the most followed sport in India. It has above 124.2m fans, more than any other sport in India by a considerable margin.

What is the most viewed event in the world? ›

Most-watched broadcasts of all time (total viewers)
1Death and state funeral of Elizabeth II2022
2Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer1981
32000 Summer Olympics closing ceremony2000
42000 Summer Olympics opening ceremony2000
6 more rows

Is sports 90% mental? ›

Sports Are 90% Mental, 10% Physical, But How Do You Improve Your Menta.

How many people don t play sports? ›

While 40% of 18- 21 year olds and 41% of 22-25 year olds currently play sports, only 26% of 26-49 year olds play sports, and just 20% of adults aged 50+ play sports. About half of adults (48%) say they do vigorous- or moderate-intensity exercise on a regular basis.

What is bigger video games or sports? ›

  • The video game industry has grown to be bigger than the sports and movie industry combined, MarketWatch reported Tuesday.
  • The news outlet reported that global video game revenue is expected to increase 20 percent in 2020, making $179.7 billion, according to data from IDC.
Dec 23, 2020

Why are sports more popular? ›

But why are sports so popular? One reason is that sports provide a sense of community. For example, sports bring people from all walks of life together to cheer and support their local teams, and some people like betting on sports together with friends as a form of fun and socialization.


1. Why Are NASCAR’s TV Ratings DOWN In 2023?
(The Iceberg)
2. Is The World Cup Final The Biggest Event In Sport?
(HITC Sevens)
5. THE MINDSET OF A WINNER | Kobe Bryant Champions Advice
6. Women Sports, what men think but can’t say


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Patricia Veum II

Last Updated: 10/08/2023

Views: 5684

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Patricia Veum II

Birthday: 1994-12-16

Address: 2064 Little Summit, Goldieton, MS 97651-0862

Phone: +6873952696715

Job: Principal Officer

Hobby: Rafting, Cabaret, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Inline skating, Magic, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Patricia Veum II, I am a vast, combative, smiling, famous, inexpensive, zealous, sparkling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.