Share on


© Flickr

Boxing, Basketball, and Badminton: Unveiling the Sports Preferences of UK Gen Z

In a recent study conducted by Ernst & Young, the sports preferences of Generation Z adults in the UK have been unveiled, shedding light on the dynamic landscape of sports engagement in the digital age. The study, which surveyed a diverse range of participants, delved into the realms of television, online, and social media to gauge the size of engagement bases for various sports among adults. The findings not only provide insights into the sports preferences of the broader population but also highlight the distinct choices made by the Gen Z demographic.

Key Findings:

The survey discovered that approximately four million Gen Z adults in the UK, out of a total of 32 million engaged adults of all ages, actively participated in or followed sports. This indicates a significant presence and interest in the sporting realm among the younger demographic.

Gen-Z adults are redefining the sporting landscape, revealing areas of untapped potential.


Badminton emerged as a surprising favorite among Gen Z adults, constituting nearly a quarter of the sport's overall engagement base. Astonishingly, this demographic also comprised 84% of the total participation numbers in badminton. The sport's appeal to the younger generation suggests a potential shift in the traditional perceptions of sports choices among different age groups.


Boxing, known for its intense physicality and strategic gameplay, attracted 21% of its engagement base from Gen Z adults. This showcases a notable interest in combat sports among the younger demographic, emphasizing the popularity of sports that offer an adrenaline rush and a sense of competition.


Basketball, a sport deeply embedded in global culture, also drew a significant portion of its engagement base from Gen Z, with this demographic contributing to a quarter of the overall engagement. The fast-paced and dynamic nature of basketball appears to resonate well with the preferences of the younger generation.

Beyond the traditional sports landscape, the study highlighted the increasing popularity of esports, mixed martial arts (MMA), and dancing among Gen Z adults. These emerging and non-traditional sports demonstrate the evolving nature of sports engagement, with digital and entertainment-focused activities gaining traction.

Intriguingly, sports like cricket, rugby, and tennis, which have long held prominent positions in the world of sports, ranked lower in the list when considering the preferences of Gen Z compared to the broader adult population. As well as esports and badminton, EY also listed cycling, wellness sports, the Formula E motorsport series and climbing as sports that could rise up the rankings going forward, with all thought to have a strong appeal among Gen Z adults.

It’s crucial that investors, sponsors, governing bodies and the sports themselves recognise the importance of this highly engaged age-group which is shaping the future of sport.


The EY study provides a comprehensive snapshot of the sports engagement patterns among Generation Z adults in the UK, revealing a diverse range of interests beyond conventional choices. The preferences for badminton, boxing, and basketball underscore the evolving nature of sports fandom among the younger demographic, with a particular emphasis on dynamic and adrenaline-inducing activities. As the sporting landscape continues to transform, these insights are valuable for stakeholders in the sports industry, guiding them toward understanding and meeting the evolving preferences of the next generation of sports enthusiasts.

Sources: Sport Pro Media, Ernst & Young

A new agency world © 2023. All rights reserved.