Rugby Union Tri-umphs: The Most Anticipated and Applauded Sporting Events of 2023

Goodform harness the power of fan data to identify 2023’s biggest sporting events

As the calendar of 2023 unfolds, we have already witnessed some of the biggest sporting events take place, with highly anticipated action on the horizon! Amidst this, international competitions like Formula 1 remain firmly in the spotlight, while the Women’s World Cup reached its thrilling conclusion on Sunday, which saw heartbreak for the Lionesses in the final.

Utilising the power of fan data, Goodform has delved into The Fan Panel‘s comprehensive insights to identify the most anticipated upcoming sporting events and the driving factors when it comes to attending them. Additionally, Goodform have deciphered the resounding reception of events that have graced 2023, as well as detecting fan opinions on the sports they believe to be both on the rise, and in decline. Goodform previously carried out a major events report 4 years ago. Since then, Goodform has carried out much deeper fan research and seen significant fluctuations in results when comparing the data.

Rugby World Cup receives the highest anticipation

A 28% majority of fans have pinpointed the upcoming Rugby Union World Cup in France as the most anticipated sporting event of 2023. The 4-year build-up to arguably the most prestigious event in rugby undoubtably contributed to this. Perhaps the recent success of the Rugby League World Cup has also left fans eagerly awaiting more rugby overall? Nerveless, the approaching Rugby World Cup’s ability to surpass the appeal of even the Premier League (second with 17%) speaks volumes. The now concluded Ashes finished in close third place at 16%.


Key Drivers Behind Event Attendance

When researching fan motivations behind attending live events, several pivotal factors come into play when it comes to decision making. Above all, the most important factor for fans is the event being a sport they like or follow with an overwhelming 84% majority. Needless to say, ticket affordably is essential, as echoed by 74% of respondents; Against the backdrop of an ongoing cost-of-living crisis, it is the imperative of events rightsholders to maintain ticket affordability in order to maintain event attendance and overall satisfaction. 66% of panellists revealed that they attend live sporting events to support their team or country.


The Fans’ Choice: Event Ratings

Rugby’s dominance continues! The women’s 6-nations emerged victorious, receiving an exceptional NET score of 87%, closely followed by the men’s edition of the tournament at 82%. This further highlights the universal appeal of international rugby union. As expected, the 2022/23 season of Premier League was extremely well received with a score of 83% providing us with a season filled with overachieving underdogs and major upsets from the league’s elite clubs. Other high scorers included globally followed events, such as the Superbowl (78%) and The UEFA Champions League (71%).


Winners & Losers

Football’s growth remains unquestionable with 44% of fans believing so. Netball continues to be an unexpected leader 4 years on from Goodform’s last report, with 40% of fans recognizing its expanding influence. Formula E and cricket were tied at 39% likely due to the growth and investment of new sporting events over the last decade such as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, T20, and The Hundred. MMA (35%) and Cycling (33%) continue to grow when it comes to influence, a testament to noticeably high levels of participation and increasing engagement.

When discussing declining sports however, snooker was considered to be a declining sport by 40% of panellists despite the World Snooker Championship receiving a positive 71% NET score. The tide also turns against sailing with 36% of fans believing the sport to be declining in popularity. Nonetheless, SailGP look set-sail to change this perception as they strive to become the world’s most sustainable and purpose-driven global sports and entertainment platform.


UK Event Insights

Across the UK landscape, fans were invested in this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year (45%), as well as Glastonbury (42%) and King Charles’ Coronation (41%).


Join Us Today!

As we eagerly anticipate the sporting events yet to unfold, Goodform’s insights lead the way for strategic growth. Join The Fan Panel as we employ data and fan data to help shape the future of sports today!