Expat Guide

Sports in the UK

This can only be a feeble attempt to guide one to sports in the UK, as the British are the kings of game creation and the range of sports here is astounding. What better to do on the rainy days but to invent new games. The most popular spectator sports here (in no particular order):

  • Football - aka Soccer, Footie, the Beautiful Game
  • Rugby
  • Grand Prix Racing
  • Golf
  • Boxing
  • Horse and Greyhound Racing
  • Cricket
  • Tennis
  • Basketball (NBA)
  • Snooker
  • Athletics - aka Track and Field
  • Hockey


The beautiful game. Football/Soccer

By far the most followed sport in the UK, could be said without a doubt. The diehard fans are as emotional about their team as their own family, likened perhaps to strong American patriotism. A lifetime hobby, a fever, a passion. Football mad. Not everyone, but a significant proportion. There are some that can't stand the game. But the die-hard fan will spend all of their free time reading newspapers, teletext, team websites for any sort of news about the team, or affecting the team, such as injuries, transfers, etc.

The World Cup brings out the dormant patriotism in the British as they support their national team. The attendance of the top league matches ranges from 25,000 to 60,000, depending on stadium size and are nearly always sold out. It is difficult to get tickets to the biggest games, and lucky for those who have season tickets. But imagine most of these people attending, omitting the away fans, all singing the same songs and chants. It’s a spectacle to behold. Some of the American National Soccer team play in the USA’s Major League Soccer, and many of our players are in the top leagues in the world, including many UK teams.

Rankings of the divisions linked to official websites:

EnglandWalesScotlandNorthern IrelandRepublic of Ireland

Want to pick a team to follow? You could pick a team near to where you live, a team with an American player, or any other player that you like, or a team that someone you know follows.


A very popular and old sport, it's been said that cricket is a game that one can fall asleep while watching and not have missed much. Isn’t that an indication that not much happens? In some ways cricket is similar to baseball, but much more complicated.


Rugby is another popular sport, much more popular than in the USA. There are two Rugby games, distinctly different, Rugby League and Rugby Union.

Horse Racing

Horse Racing is quite popular with tracks all around the country. The biggest race is the Grand National, amazing to watch and made famous by the book/film National Velvet.


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