Boxing, Basketball and Badminton are among the most popular sports with Gen-Z adults in the UK©England Boxing

Boxing, basketball and badminton are among the most popular sports with Gen-Z adults (18-24 year-olds) in the UK, according to the brand-new EY Sports Engagement Index.

The first edition of the EY survey of over 4,000 UK adults uses comparative data to identify engagement levels across a range of sports by measuring the number of adults actively participating, following a sport on TV, online, or social media, or attending sporting events.

According to the Index, football, Formula 1, running, rugby union and cricket have the UK’s largest engagement bases overall – but there are significant differences in the sports that most engage Gen-Z adults (18-24 year-olds) compared to the rest of the population.

Boxing, badminton, basketball and Esports are among the activities all scoring highly for engagement with 18-24 year-olds. Although football and Formula 1 maintain top-three positions with this demographic, cricket, tennis and rugby, are among the sports facing challenges when it comes to capturing the imaginations of young adults.

Table 1: EY Sports Engagement Index - Top 10 rankings

Top 10 by size of engagement base
Top 10 for Gen Z engagement base only
  1. Football
  1. Formula 1
  1. Running
Formula 1
  1. Rugby Union
  1. Cricket
  1. Cycling
  1. Tennis
  1. Boxing
  1. Rugby League
  1. Snooker

The survey found that 59% of all respondents had engaged in sport in the last 12 months – this figure rises to 71% for men but falls to 45% for women. Adults aged 35-44 years old were the most engaged in UK sport, but participation levels were at their highest in the 18-24 year-old age group.

The Index identifies a number of ‘new’ sports which have high levels of engagement with Gen-Z adults (18-24 year olds). Esports features in the top-10 most engaged sports for this demographic while MMA, weightlifting, dancing, table tennis and volleyball are in Gen-Z adults’ top 15 sports for engagement, but are absent from the equivalent list for all adults.