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Athletics Remains Western Europe’s Second Favourite Sport

Author: BOCCurrent events Friday, June 22nd, 2007
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Football is the undisputed leader / The Germans demonstrate the greatest interest in athletics, the Spanish the least

Berlin, June 2007 - Athletics continues to assert itself as the second strongest force - behind football - in the most important European markets. According to a representative survey for the current study “European Football 2007,” which is published by Europe’s leading sports rights marketer Sportfive, 108.32 million of a total of 244.48 million people over the age of 14 in England, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany expressed interest in the core Olympic sport. That means 44 percent of the population. More - namely 133.27 million people or 55 percent - evinced their preference for football.

The popularity of athletics is most pronounced in Germany, with 51 percent or 33.31 million people expressing their interest, followed by the British (45%) and the Italians (44%), ahead of the French (40%) and the Spanish (37%). In Germany, where the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics will be held in its capital city, Berlin, from August 15 - 23, 2007, these multifaceted disciplines make for the second most popular televised sport after football. The investigation into the TV interest revealed the greatest regional differences. While the survey showed that in Germany no one, in Spain one percent, and in Italy only two percent were interested in watching rugby on television, rugby received a 23-percent approval rating in France, making it a very popular televised sport there, ranking only third behind football and tennis.

Specific survey questions in Germany revealed that athletics is met with a somewhat greater response in the so-called “new” states of former East Germany than in the west. While 49 percent expressed their interest in the western states, in the eastern regions 60 percent showed a special interest. With respect to gender, the interest is almost equal: Half of the women and 52 percent of the men showed interest in athletics.

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