More than half of Brits watch sports they don’t really understand, for the atmosphere, social occasion – and to impress someone.
A study of 2,000 adults found 57 per cent have sat down to watch a match or game even though they had no idea what was going on.
Almost two thirds (68 per cent) enjoy the atmosphere even if the rules and what’s happening on the pitch or court is difficult to understand.
But one in six admitted to pretending to understand a sport in order to impress others, including friends (57 per cent), colleagues (30 per cent) and even a date (24 per cent).
More than four in 10 join in for the social side, while others watch a sport they aren’t a fan of for the food (12 per cent) and because they have a fear of missing out (12 per cent).
The study, commissioned by Old El Paso, found more than half believe sport brings people together and a third said watching games and eating go hand in hand.
A third of adults have even attended a live game without fully understanding it and 27 per cent have done so in a different country to embrace the culture.
Sarah Hanley, for Old El Paso, official partner of Super Bowl, said: “There’s no doubt some sports rules are mind boggling, but often games are just an excuse to get together with friends with great food, a buzzing atmosphere and be part of something bigger.
“Sports, whether live or on TV, really brings people together and even in the current climate we can all be watching a big game like the Super Bowl at the same time from our own homes and feel like we’re part of a crowd.”
The study also found 65 per cent of adults struggle to understand scoring systems in some sports, while 44 per cent don’t know the roles of different players.
The rugby scrum, football’s offside rule and the scoring in golf are among the most confusing rules.
And less than half the nation are able to explain the tennis scoring system, the handball rule and snooker’s ball values to others.
Despite confusion, three in 10 have attended or held a get together to tie in with a live event, including the football world cup (53 per cent), the Olympics (27 per cent) and the Super Bowl (20 per cent).
These events included themed fancy dress (11 per cent), a large screen (58 per cent) and food and drink (35 per cent).
Sarah added: “Given that people are so open to embracing new sports that create a fun atmosphere, we want to encourage people to make some noise for the Super Bowl this year.
“It’s one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar and has become a global phenomenon.
“And it’s not just about the game – there’s the renowned half time show, the food Brits can enjoy while staying up all night to watch, the overall atmosphere of the game and the conversations that follow the next day.”
TOP REASONS FOR WATCHING SPORTS DESPITE NOT UNDERSTANDING THEM:
1. For the atmosphere
2. To get together with family and friends to watch
3. For the social factor
4. To learn about the sport
5. To be able to join in conversations about the game afterwards
6. For the adrenaline
7. For the food
8. To avoid the fear of missing out
9. To keep up to date with the current sports news
10. To impress others
The Super Bowl takes place on Sunday 7th Feb.