Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the UK in 2024


When it comes to the popular sports in the UK, you might believe football is the only one.

But there are MANY more!

What’s more interesting, some of them have even been born in England.

So, let’s take a look at the list of the most popular sports in the UK!

What is the Most Popular Sport in the UK?

10. Netball

England was the place where netball was invented back in 1897. Many British consider that netball has always been the centre of the sport in the UK in the past. 

The Elite netball competition, The Netball Superleague, was founded in 1999 and takes players from England, Wales, Scotland, Fiji and New Zealand. 

There was also a historical moment when England became champion by beating Australia. Since then, netball has gained media popularity.

9. Ice Hockey

The next most-watched and popular sport in the UK is ice hockey. It is also the most attractive indoor sport for the English audience.

Around 117,000 people in the UK play this high-intensive sport. 

10 professional teams compete in the EIHL from all four nations, and also, the national team has had success in international matches. 

The Ice Hockey UK arranges all kinds of tournaments all over the country.

8. Rowing

Rowing has also been a popular sport in the UK. It dates back to 1828, when the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge ran the first boat race.

The Amateur Rowing Association of the UK is the leading body for the sport of rowing. 

In 2020, approximately 574 million people participated in rowing in England. This figure shows a significant interest in this sport.

Kingston Rowing Club is the most successful club, and Thames Rowing Club has the most members of all the clubs in the UK.

7. Athletics

England is one of the countries with the most number of athletes.

From Jessica Enis Hill to Mo Farah, the UK has many successful athletes with significant achievements.

According to a study, around 6.9 million people in England are doing some of the best solo sports such as athletics, running, or multisport at least twice a month. 

Moreover, professionally, around 5,652 UK athletes have attended the Olympics.

6. Swimming

Swimming is known as a very beneficial sport for people’s health and is one of the oldest sports in the world. So around 4.7 million people in the UK swim twice or more monthly. Especially kids from 5 to 10 years old.

International swimming competitions are organised by the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association

Many talented UK swimmers take part, like Adam Peaty, Rebecca Adlington, James Guy etc.

5. Badminton

Badminton is known as the second most popular sport after football. It has also increased its popularity in the UK since 1893

The number of people who take part in this traditional British sport steadily increases. As a result, 278,000 players participated in badminton in 2021.

When it comes to competitions like the Olympics, the team Great Britain has won 2 bronze and 1 silver medal.

Furthermore, Gail Emms is considered the best English badminton player, with one silver Olympic medal

4. Tennis

The most famous and highest paying tennis tournament, Wimbledon, originates in the United Kingdom.

Research shows that the sport’s volume increases in July every year due to Wimbledon happening in the summer. 

The British player Andy Murray and the Swiss Roger Federer enjoy the UK’s popularity. When it comes to women players, Emma Raducanu and Serena Williams are the most famous tennis players in the UK.

As mentioned before, Wimbledon, the oldest and most prestigious event, attracts over 500,000 spectators and millions of TV viewers.

3. Rugby

Rugby is another popular sport that started in England. Its rules were written by pupils from Rugby School in Warwickshire in 1823

Rugby Union enjoys more prestige in the UK than the Rugby League

Out of 6,6 million players globally, England has around 2,1 million registered and non-registered players and Martin Johnson and Jason Robinson are among the most famous UK rugby players.  

The most attended rugby event is the Six Nations Tournament, in which six countries take place: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and France.

Related: How much do rugby players earn?  

2. Cricket

The second place on our list of the UK’s most popular sports is reserved for cricket. It is a sport with a massive audience in stadiums in around 180 countries.

With more than 20 cricket clubs and thousands of smaller teams, it’s estimated that around 65% of people in the UK watch this game

The Ashes is a competition played every two years between England and Australia. In all 72 Ashes series, Australia has 2 wins more than England. 

1. Football

There is no doubt that football is the national game and one of the best and most-viewed sports in the UK. Believe it or not, around 7000 clubs are playing in a traditional league system every week. 

The English Premier League stands as the most profitable league globally. It generates around £7.6 billion per year

Moreover, the most valuable players are considered Phil Foden and Harry Kane.

One of the oldest governing bodies is the Football Association, with the FA Cup and Capital One Cup being the most famous championships in the UK.


So this is our list of the top 10 most popular sports in the UK. 

These sports are one of the main kinds of entertainment that attract hundreds of thousands of people to fill stadiums and venues. 
So if you ever have a chance, we warmly recommend attending at least one event of the most popular sports in the UK.

You won’t regret it!

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