Europeans think it’s safe to have crowds at sports events, but not at full capacity

Rishad Dsouza
July 05, 2021, 7:53 PM GMT+0

On the back of a widespread vaccination drive in Europe, crowds have returned to sporting events across the continent, albeit not always at grounds’ full capacity. YouGov dives into the data to understand consumer attitudes towards these changes, to ask – are people ready to go back?

We ran a survey last month asking consumers to share their thoughts on the volume of people sports arenas should allow, proportional to the seating capacity. While there were some striking differences that emerged, a plurality of consumers in each market who expressed a view felt that sports venues should be permitted to fill between 25%—50% of their total capacity.

Between one in five (20%, Denmark) to one-third of consumers (33%, Italy) think 25% - 50% is the ideal crowd attendance rate at sports venues. More than a quarter of consumers in the UK (27%), France (26%) and Germany (27%) also voted for that bracket. The second-most voted-for category was ‘don’t know’ with almost two in five Danes (37%) sitting on the fence on the matter.

Germans were most likely to hold the view that matches should take place in empty stadiums in the interest of social distancing measures (10%). At the other end, Brits and Danes were most open to having full or close-to-full crowds in the stands. One in eight consumers in those markets said 75%-100% attendance levels at stadia would still be safe (13%).

But what about those people most likely to attend events – sports fans themselves? When we drilled down into UK data, we found that although fans were more likely to have an opinion, their distribution across the safe capacity options was actually very similar to those of the general population.

The biggest difference was to be found on the question of whether to allow fans in at all. Those who said they had watched any professional sport, either in person or via broadcast, in the past month were half as likely as the average UK resident to call for barring fans from stadiums (4% vs 8%).

Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 5 markets with sample sizes varying between 1004 and 2005 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in June 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample.