After CNBC reported that sports fans have higher levels of self-esteem, lower levels of loneliness and tend to be more satisfied with their life compared to those who aren’t interested in sports, analysts at Golfsupport were keen to uncover once and for all which fans are the happiest.

Golfsupport surveyed 6,530 sports fans worldwide to determine their fan satisfaction rating, alongside analysing each sport’s YouTube videos’ like-to-dislike ratio and their social media engagement from fans.

Which sports fans are happiest?

With an overall score of 90.8, the study shows that golf fans are happiest with their sport! Golf supporters have the highest fan satisfaction rate: with the smallest number of issues with golf’s match day experience, live coverage, spectating, the cost of supporting and role models in the sport, this amounts to an average satisfaction rating of 90.3 out of 100.

The PGA Tour’s YouTube channel has the third highest like-to-dislike ratio, with an average like percentage of 97.9% on their recent videos. Unfortunately, golf enthusiasts rank seventh for their support on social media (2.4/10), however that wasn’t enough to knock them off the top spot.

Golfsupport can reveal that athletics fans are the second happiest, with a score of 89.8 out of 100. Athletics fans appreciate their sports’ role models, kits, match day experience and coverage accessibility, resulting in a fan satisfaction rate of 84.7. Athletics fans also show the most love for their sport on social media, with an engagement rating of 7.8/10.

With 89.8 points, falling behind by a fraction, tennis fans come third. Their fan satisfaction rating helped boost them up in the rankings, with a score of 87.6. Following in fourth and fifth place are formula 1 and cricket fans with a happiness score of 88.8 and 88.7 in total.

Which sports fans are unhappiest?

Golfsupport found that football fans are the unhappiest, falling behind with 85.3 points. This is mainly due to their low fan satisfaction rate of just 80.7 out of 100; supporters are generally unhappy with role models in the sport, live coverage accessibility, chairmen of the sport and the rules regarding VAR. In addition to this, they fall short on the amount of positivity shown towards the Premier League YouTube channel (an average of 97% likes per video) and their social media support (1.4 out of 10).

American football fans are also among the unhappiest with their sport, ranking ninth with 86.6 points. Joining them are basketball fans who are in eighth position. Basketball supporters show the least amount of love on social media, with an engagement rating score of just 0.8 out of 10.

Methodology

To achieve the overall happiness score, Golfsupport firstly surveyed 6,530 sports fans worldwide and asked them how happy they are on a scale of 1 to 10 with: their sport’s coverage accessibility, fan match day experience, cost of supporting, enjoyment whilst playing, role models in the sport, enjoyment spectating, sports kit/merch, the chairmen/presidents of the sport, complexity of rules and the sponsors.

Following this, they calculated the average for the 10 most recent videos on each of the sports’ most subscribed and relevant YouTube channels to determine the like to dislike ratio. They then analysed each sport’s main Instagram account’s engagement rate from fans and converted this into a scoring out of 10. All of these factors were taken into account and indexed to create an overall score to determine how positive/happy each group of supporters are with their favourite sports.