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Aug 19, 21

Sports in the UK Soar in popularity thanks to the Olympics interest

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• Post-Olympics data shows a 10,000% increase for searches of 3x3 Basketball and a rise of over 3000% for artistic swimming across the UK
• Beach Volleyball also soared over 1000%
• Better’s analysis of pre-tournament data showed the UK was most interested in trampolining, mountain biking and skateboarding

Analysis after the Olympic Games in Tokyo has revealed that the UK’s interest in the events on show have shot up massively, with basketball, artistic swimming and gymnastics claiming the top three positions for the largest rise in demand.
Last month, when the Olympics started, there were over 4 million searches across the country for the sports on show combined, highlighting the vast number of people seeking to learn more about these sports and how to get involved in them.
Better, the UK’s largest operator of public sports and leisure facilities has conducted this analysis to understand the popularity and excitement for the Games, and it’s impact on participation post-Games.
The biggest risers in popularity were 3x3 basketball, which saw a 10,547% increase, followed by artistic swimming and artistic gymnastics, with 3,172% and 1,380% rises respectively. A full ranking of the popularity increases across every sport on show can be found here:

Rank Olympic Sport % Increase
1 3x3 basketball 10547.00%
2 artistic swimming 3172.70%
3 artistic gymnastics 1380%
4 beach volleyball 1029%
5 sports climbing 650%
6 canoe slalom 518.75%
7 modern pentathlon 410.34%
8 softball 401.50%
9 triathlon 400%
10 BMX freestyle 391%
11 canoe sprint 319%
12 rhythmic gymnastics 317.20%
13 marathon swimming 310.26%
14 taekwondo 305.90%
15 tennis 234.50%
16 BMX racing 175%
17 water polo 175%
18 handball 174%
19 volleyball 173.60%
20 judo 173.55%
21 rowing 124.20%
22 diving 123%
23 swimming 122.20%
24 hockey 83.10%
25 archery 83%
26 equestrian 83%
27 table tennis 82.80%
28 golf 82%
29 road cycling 81.20%
30 track cycling 51.70%
31 football 50%
32 karate 49.72%
33 sailing 49.70%
34 badminton 49.50%
35 weightlifting 49.40%
36 athletics 49%
37 surfing 49.00%
38 basketball 48%
39 skateboarding 22.70%
40 fencing 22.30%
41 baseball 22%
42 mountain bike 0%
43 trampoline 0%
44 boxing -18%
45 wrestling -18.00%
46 rugby -18.10%
47 shooting -45.20%

Leading up to the Games this year, Better’s analysis also found the sports on show people were most excited about or interested in, finding that there was an average of 201,000 searches per month for trampolining and 165,000 searches for both mountain biking and skateboarding, followed by 110,000 for fencing. Meanwhile, based on the monthly average page views for the Wikipedia pages on each sport, one of the new Olympic sports, Karate, came out on top with 177,202 views. A table detailing the top 10 is below:

Google Rank Sport Search Volume 2021 Wiki Rank Sports Monthly Average Wikipedia
1 Trampoline 201,000 1 Karate 176,202
2 Mountain bike 165,000 2 Canoe/Kayak Slalom 132,266
3 Skateboarding 165,000 3 Athletics 127,364
4 Fencing 110,000 4 Tennis 116,568
5 Basketball 90,500 5 Sailing 83,356
6 Tennis 74,000 6 3x3 Basketball 73,025
7 Swimming 60,500 7 Judo 69,083
8 Shooting 49,500 8 Surfing 68,097
9 Athletics 33,100 9 Road Cycling 57,698
10 Badminton 27,100 10 BMX Racing 56,709

Team GB were represented by its largest-ever delegation for an Olympic Games on foreign soil, with 376 athletes competing, and also took more women than men for the first time. Better investigated the popularity of all 376 Team GB athletes before the Games and found former Gold Medallist in tennis, Andy Murray, came out on top followed by double gold medallist rower, Helen Glover and World Champion sprinter, Dina Asher-Smith.
Ranking Athlete Sport Avg. monthly searches

1 Andy Murray Tennis 201,000
2 Helen Glover Rowing 40,500
3 Dina Asher-Smith Athletics 27,100
4 Tommy Fleetwood Golf 27,100
5 Heather Watson Tennis 22,200
6 Stephanie Davis Athletics 22,200
7 Adam Peaty Swimming 18,100
8 Paul Casey Golf 18,100
9 Steph Houghton Football 18,100
10 Fran Kirby Football 14,800

Aspiring Olympian, Ben Cumberland, aged 18, is a Triathlete based in Vale of White Horse and said: “Back in the 2012 London Olympics I was lucky enough to get tickets to an event and experience the Games. I was inspired to take up my sport thanks to a teacher at school whose son was part of the local Triathlon club and suggested I get involved.”
For young people watching the Games and thinking of getting involved in a new sport, he said: “Don’t be afraid to try something new!”
Find the full ranking and more details here.

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