BLOG | by Sara Eddleston

The sports events which have climbed highest in our Buzz rankings over the last five years

At the start of each year, we chronicle which sports events have generated the most positive chatter amongst UK audiences in our SportsIndex Buzz Report.

Our report on 2017 Buzz will be out in the next couple of weeks but because this marks our publication’s fifth edition, we thought we would take this chance to look back at some five-year data too.

In particular, we wanted to see which properties had made the biggest climbs in our Buzz rankings since 2013.

Our two highest climbers are football properties – albeit that one is of the American variety. Both the Premier League and the NFL have risen ten places over the last five years, propelling them into top and mid-table positions respectively.

NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, will see this rise as a vindication of the export strategy he has put in place for the sport. Shutting down the nascent NFL Europe league soon after his appointment, he instead focused energy on the International Series which sees games being played in London (and now Mexico).

NFL’s rise in our Buzz standings coincides with the league’s decision to increase the number of games played in London, from the initial solo game in 2013 to four in 2017 (reducing to three in 2018). It’s possible that a London franchise would see NFL begin to compete against the very buzziest of our sports properties.

The Premier League’s rise comes as less of a surprise – we’ve charted football’s domination of the UK news media for some time.  A natural result of that has been the increase in Premier League Buzz (as well as Buzz around our joint-third highest climber, the Football League) over the last five years. What is more of a surprise is perhaps that it is yet to break into our top ten – although it is one of our highest-placed domestic properties.

In joint fifth place amongst our highest climbers  – all rising five places since 2013 – are an interesting spread of sports

World Rugby Sevens Series may not enjoy the recognition of the Six Nations or the Lions tour but World Rugby has developed the tournament into a valuable property. Thanks to continual format tweaks, a league originally dominated by the Kiwis is now a much more competitive affair – something reflected in this climb.

Super League, rugby league’s premier domestic competition, joins Sevens as one of our highest climbers since 2013. It, too, has worked hard to perfect a format and promote competition and, whilst it is still not a top-tier property, it has succeeded in remaining competitive in a cut-throat sports sector.

Joining Sevens and Super League as a fifth highest climber is England T20 cricket. As a team, rather than a competition, the perception of England’s T20 side is more closely tied to performances so it’s no surprise that England’s success in reaching the World T20 in 2016 has helped to propel it up our league.

In five years’ time, things could look very different again – but rest assured we will be keeping track. Our SportsIndex Buzz Report is full of insights about the properties we measure – yet is only a single view of a single metric (SportsIndex monitors 16 altogether).  Take a look here to see what other views our data makes possible.

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Head of Consumer Insight

Sara has over 20 years’ experience in the global market research industry. Since joining SMG Insight in October 2016 she has lead the consumer insight division, maximising the benefits offered to clients through the company’s advanced range of research techniques and its unique partnership with YouGov.