Number of People Participating in Football in England Decrease by Almost 20% Since 2016

England is one of the biggest footballing nations in the world both in terms of viewership and participation. Home of arguably the most competitive domestic football league in the world, the English Premier League, and a national side that regularly qualifies for the prestigious World Cup, Football is the most popular spectator sport in England. However, According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites, in 2020, football participation in England has dropped by 18.8% since 2016.

Participation in Football Down Almost 20% Since 2016

Football is the most followed sport in the world and is largely considered the most popular in terms of viewership. In England, it also has been historically the most popular team sport to participate in. In 2020, an estimated 1.9M people in England played football at least twice a month. As impressive as that number is it is actually more than 9% lower than in 2019 when 2.6M people participated in football and almost 20% less than 2016’s numbers.

Breaking it down by gender, in 2020 an estimated 1.7M men participated in football which is a significant decrease from 2016. Meanwhile, there was no statistically significant change from women’s participation in football, when in 2020, 204K women participated in football

Increase Only Seen In Adventure Sports, Combat Sports And Walking Activities; Team Sports Declining

Among different activity groups only three areas saw a significant increase since 2016; Adventure Sports, Combat Sports and Walking activities. Adventure Sports participation increased by 25% since 2016 to 3.5M compared to 2.25M in 2016. Combat Sports saw an increase of 20% since 2016 for a total of 955K while walking activities increased by 11.4% to 20.38M. Notably, participation in team sports is down to 2.9M in 2020 compared to 3.47M in 2016 – a 16.6% decrease.

Men’s Participation In Team Sports Declining, Women’s Participation In Fitness Related Sports Increasing

Other team sports also suffered a significant drop in 2020 compared to 2016, especially among men. Cricket, for example, suffered a 20% decrease in 2020 compared to 2016, while Basketball (-18.63%) and Volleyball( -35.8%) also significantly decreased in men’s participation but experienced no significant change from women’s participation.

This is in contrast to fitness-related sports that have seen a significant increase in women’s participation since 2016. In 2020, over 5M women participated in fitness classes which is 21.7% of all women respondents. There were also 2.76M women who participated in Gym sessions which make up 12% of women respondents.

About Rex Pascual

Rex is an online writer and researcher informed by a global perspective that allows him to uniquely analyse numbers and convey them in a relatable way. He specialises in the area of Sports, Esports and the CBD industry as well as having an eye for the latest financial and technological trends. Well versed in SEO and other aspects of digital marketing, he uses his skills to good use on freelancing platforms while being based in the Netherlands.

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