UK sports fans & Cryptocurrency

With NFTs gaining traction pretty rapidly in sport, and crypto platforms also getting involved in sponsorship, there’s some quite interesting data here from GWI’s recent Zeitgeist survey (Sep ’21), looking at awareness and attitudes to all things crypto.

I’ve compared people in the UK with an interest in watching sport, with the UK general population.

(Purple for UK Sports Fans, Green for all UK 16-64s)

Sports fans seem to be slightly more aware of the basic crypto terminology.

29% of sports fans are familiar with the term ‘Blockchain’ vs 25% of the UK generally.

Sports fans are also a few % points ahead on terms like ‘Decentralisation’ and ‘NFT’.

It’s not a huge difference but interesting to see, especially as sports fans are slightly older than the general population (and you might expect younger people to be more familiar with all things crypto.

Actual usage of cryptocurrency is still very low across the board.

Only 2-3% of UK people regularly use crypto for transactions, with sports fans slightly less likely to (but it’s not a significant difference).

The one area where there does seem to be a gap is people saying “I don’t use cryptocurrency at all, but I’m interested in doing so”. 22.5% of sports fans agree with this vs 18.5% of the UK population.

Maybe those football sponsorships are already starting to have an impact?

Sports fans seem more open to using crypto to pay for things

This interest/intent to use cryptocurrency among sports fans feeds through into levels of comfort in using it to pay for specific things.

Sports fans are a few % points ahead of the general UK consumer in being (theoretically) comfortable using crypto to pay for all types of items, from a Netflix subscription through to their rent or mortgage. But, each of these is still in the 10-20% range, so the vast majority of people are not yet open to using crypto for anything.

There’s still an education job to be done on crypto

Alongside the basic awareness challenge, there’s also an education job to be done to entice more people into using crypto technology.

When asked “Which of these would make you more likely to own/use cryptocurrency for transactions?” a pretty consistent 20-25% of UK people are looking for a better understanding of its stability, security, the technology behind it and how to actually buy, sell or trade with it.

Again, sports fans are slightly ahead on each of these, but not by much.

The key stat might be that 38% of the UK and 36% of sports fans say that none of these things would make them more likely to use crypto, so we still have well over one third of people not currently open


This is only a snapshot but it does seem to point to UK sports fans being slightly more aware of, and open to, cryptocurrency and related products such as NFTs.

This could be a function of the recent big moves into sports sponsorship from the crypto platforms (although it feels a bit early for that to have had a real impact yet), plus the early embracing of NFTs from some sports rights holders and athletes.

Either way, it does seem to support the strategy of using sport to raise awareness and educate fans, bringing all things crypto more into the mainstream.

One looming issue that could get challenging for rights holders is the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain that underpins it. It’s not good, and with sustainability being high on the agenda for sport, it’s something that will need addressing, although sports fans don’t seem to care about this right now. Maybe they just don’t know yet?

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