Between amateur and professional sports: Europe's most sporting countries

The ranking of the leading sports nations worldwide.

Sports enthusiasm drives some countries more than others. In this study, we have investigated which countries are particularly successful and in which sports disciplines. In doing so, we took a close look at 30 European countries.

Between amateur and professional sports: Europe's most sporting countries

Few things in the world inspire such fascination as sport. There is hardly anyone who does not have some connection with it. While some enjoy being active themselves, training regularly, winning titles or breaking world records, others prefer to be enthusiastic spectators at sporting events. They passionately cheer on athletes or follow tournaments and other sporting competitions with great interest.

Sport, in all its facets, has the power to bring people together, because it usually does not require language. Instead, the shared experiences of success and defeat quickly create a sense of connection. In addition, other important social values are also conveyed through sport. These include fair play, team spirit, respect and dealing with defeat.

With a view to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, we at Baufi24 asked ourselves in which European countries enthusiasm for one's own physical fitness and very good performance in professional sports coincide. The result is a study with which we have determined the most sports enthusiastic countries in Europe.

Ranking

Rank Country Total Score Olympia Cluster Score Professional Sports Cluster Score Sports Economy Cluster Score Popular Sports Cluster Score
1 Sweden 100 65 73 100 97
2 Norway 97 100 31 95 100
3 Netherlands 89 25 100 84 95
4 Switzerland 84 41 69 81 99
5 Finland 81 88 0 93 99
6 Denmark 63 35 34 70 89
7 United Kingdom 60 14 45 96 66
8 Germany 54 22 49 59 74
9 Austria 50 37 5 69 80
10 Czechia 49 9 89 31 59
11 Spain 47 3 66 69 46
12 Luxembourg 46 7 0 91 82
13 Italy 43 12 95 45 21
14 France 42 13 43 61 51
15 Belgium 40 14 39 58 54
16 Hungary 39 53 44 27 35
17 Portugal 37 2 69 43 40
18 Croatia 33 11 75 30 27
19 Ireland 33 6 0 65 71
20 Slovenia 32 20 31 29 60
21 Cyprus 30 1 0 96 36
22 Estonia 29 32 0 60 40
23 Bulgaria 28 34 71 15 7
24 Latvia 26 15 21 38 50
25 Lithuania 24 9 69 12 27
26 Greece 17 11 33 23 30
27 Malta 16 0 0 50 45
28 Slovakia 10 7 0 15 55
29 Poland 8 8 22 13 30
30 Romania 0 16 32 0 0

How the ranking was compiled

To compile a ranking of the most sports-mad countries in Europe, all the countries of the European Union plus Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom were analyzed for a total of 21 factors in the four study fields of "popular sports," "Olympic success," "success in professional sports" and "sports economy." The analysis, based on meaningful data sets from credible sources, allowed the countries to be evaluated in terms of multifaceted sports enthusiasm.

Popular sports

Sports activity: Information on the percentage of the population that participates in sports at least once a week was taken from Eurostat data.

Participation in sports events: Information on the proportion of the population that attended at least one live sporting event in the last year was taken from Eurostat data.

Olympic performance

To assess countries' Olympic performance, all gold, silver and bronze medals won at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games since 1896 were analyzed. To ensure a fair comparison between countries, a value per million inhabitants was used. Information on the so-called perpetual medal table was taken from the adequately documented Wikipedia article "Perpetual medal table of the Olympic Games".

Success in professional sports

Success in professional sports

In order to evaluate the performance in professional sports of the countries, the sporting achievements in the sports of football, tennis, volleyball and basketball were evaluated.

Football: To evaluate the performance in professional soccer, the victories in the most important tournaments - UEFA European Championship, UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup were evaluated for all countries.

Tennis: To evaluate the performance in professional tennis, the victories of the most important Grand Slam tennis tournaments - Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and Australian Open - were evaluated. The women's and men's tournaments were taken into account in each case.

Volleyball: To evaluate performance in professional volleyball, victories in the most important tournaments - the European Volleyball Championship, the Volleyball World Cup and the FIVB World League and performance at the Olympic Games were evaluated.

Basketball: To evaluate performance in professional basketball, victories in the most important tournaments the Eurobasket and the FIBA World Cup as well as performances at the Olympic Games were evaluated.

Sports Business

Turnover of professional leagues: Information on the revenue of national professional leagues in the 2018/2019 season was taken from the adequately documented Wikipedia article "List of professional sports leagues by revenue". Only national leagues with a revenue of more than 20 million euros per season were considered.

Prize money in e-sports: information on prize money in e-sports (2019, 2020 and 2021) was taken from the Esports Earning database.

Employment figures: Information on people employed in the sports sector was taken from Eurostat data.

Public spending: Information on public spending on recreational and sports facilities was taken from Eurostat.

Private expenditure: Information on the amount of private spending on sporting goods per household was taken from Eurostat data. Information for Switzerland was taken from Swissinfo.

Calculation of the ranking

In order to be able to compare the results of all the countries examined in an influencing factor, the results data were standardized on a point scale from 0 to 100. The country that performed best in terms of sport or most successful in terms of sport received a score of 100. The country that performed least well in terms of sport or least successful in terms of sport received a score of 0. The scores of all other countries are ranked according to their results between 0 and 100. The evaluation result of an investigation field resulted from the sum of the points of all influencing factors in the respective investigation field. The evaluation results of all countries were also standardized to enable comparability.

The overall evaluation resulted from the sum of all evaluation results of all investigation fields, which was also standardized on a point scale from 0 to 100 and resulted in the final ranking.

The following normalization formula was used for the standardizations:

Formel Normalisierung