Further research shows that in excess of 400 million spectators attended a selected list of 50 major annual leagues, tours and events, further highlighting the size and scale of impact that sport delivers globally every year.
A total of 408,268,028 spectators attended these 50 major annual events in 2014, as the table below shows
NCAA National College Football ranks second highest with over 49 million spectators attending a match in 2014 showing the high level of interest in college sports in the USA.
Based on average attendance, however, the Bundesliga was the highest-ranked soccer league, with 42,609 spectators per match.
Tennis is one of the sports where the women’s game has had near equal standing to the men’s version thanks to a large extent to their being tournaments for both at the Grand Slams and at other events across the sport.
Tennis attendance for the major tours, Grand Slams and the Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions totalled over 10 million in 2014, with a 59:41 ratio for men’s and women’s competitions. The WTA tour was the highest attended women’s sporting property of 2014.
Every sport has its own characteristics and nuances that make it different from others. To compare ticketed events like baseball and soccer with the non-ticketed major cycling tours is almost impossible based on attendance data alone.
The Tour de France has, it is estimated, the highest ‘Average Attendance’ of the selected sports properties in 2014 with figure of 571,429, narrowly ahead of the Giro d’Italia.
Outside of the major cycling tours, Formula 1 has one of the highest attendance averages based purely on ‘Race Day’, with 100,482. The second highest was the Ryder Cup that took place at Gleneagles in Scotland, with an average of 83,333, followed by rugby union’s 6 Nations Championship, with 69,398. The NFL was the North American league with the highest average attendance in 2014, with 68,401.
How can you compare the ‘Average Attendance’ of a non-ticketed cycling event, like the Tour de France, with a partially ticketed motor racing event, like Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix and with a ticketed NFL game?
‘Average Attendance’ and ‘Total Attendance’ are commonly used as measures of an event’s success but it only tells part of the picture. There are many other factors around sports attendance like percentage of tickets sold or total ticket revenue that could also be used. It would certainly change the ‘rating’ of an event if a wide variety of factors were used to assess the ‘value’ of an event.
Sports attendance is just one of the factors considered by the GSI Project. The project aims to develop a methodology that allows major sporting events to be compared across a range of factors ranging from economic, sporting, media, social and environmental impacts