#SportOnSearch tracks interest in the biggest global properties in sport and analyses the factors that determine their rankings. 

How might interest in these properties change in 2023 – a year which includes annual events and major tournaments such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Rugby World Cup? 

Take a look at some of our growth outlook predictions. 

Growth outlook for leagues and series 

Women’s sport will continue to grow 

We expect the growth of interest in women’s football to continue: the FIFA Women’s World Cup takes place this summer and should boost interest in the sport, just as the Euros did last year. 

We predict growing interest especially in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), which tallies with the overall increase of interest in soccer in the USA since its performance in the men’s 2022 World Cup. In general, the growth of the game is on an upward trajectory, with both men’s and women’s major leagues benefitting from each other and with the USA due to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026. 

Increasing gap between combat sports 

We predict an increasing gap between those combat sports that saw rising interest levels in 2022 and those that did not. 

We expect interest in the ONE Championship to continue expanding even if the rate of growth decreases. 

Interest in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has grown consistently; while we don’t foresee a dramatic change, we do believe this interest will continue to increase. 

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has been on a downward trajectory over the past 4 years as stars have left the sport and budgets been cut – and we can’t see this trend turning around this year. 

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has been given a boost by the signing of influencer Jake Paul. This could play a significant role in combat sports in 2023. 

F1 interest to plateau  

F1 has had a great 4 years of growth (despite a small dip at the height of the pandemic in 2020) but we question how long this rate of growth can continue.

We predict that interest in the sport will increase once again but that the growth rate will slow down as the impact of the popular ‘Drive to Survive’ Netflix series dwindles. 

Golf to rebound 

With specific events such as the Masters/The US Open having seen a growth in interest in 2022, we expect the PGA/PGA European Tours to see an uplift compared to last year. 

There is a new Netflix documentary out – ‘Full Swing’ – that follows golfers on and off the course, including during the PGA Tour. We think this could be another key factor in growing the sport’s reach as it might encourage new audiences to search for information about the tours/series mentioned. 

Growth outlook for events and tournaments

CrossFit Games on the up 

The heights of CrossFit Games’ pre-pandemic success saw it struggle to outperform its 4-year average in 2022 although we did see the competition report year-on-year growth. 

High levels of search interest in 2018/2019 demonstrate that there is opportunity for the event to reach/maintain higher levels of interest across consecutive years. 

We predict that this growth will continue and in fact surpass its 4-year average. 

IPL to benefit in World Cup year 

On the back of a new format introduced in 2022, the IPL’s year-on-year growth looks certain to be maintained. 

As the 2023 World Cup will be held in India in October/November, interest should increase. Although the tournament has a different format to the 20-over edition, the same number of teams will be competing and many IPL stars will have played in the summer league just months before. 

France to drive Six Nations growth 

This year, France – the reigning Six National Grand Slam Champions – is due to host the Rugby World Cup. 

In 2022, the tournament saw a 2% increase in interest compared to the previous 4-year average, despite taking place at the same time as the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. 

As more casual viewers are drawn in this time around, we expect interest in the Six Nations to grow further. 

Masters will continue year-on-year increase 

Golf’s most prestigious major has seen year-on-year growth of interest in the last 4 years and we expect this trend to continue.

The Ryder Cup and the Netflix feature series ‘Full Swing’ will pique interest in golf in general as the Augusta National retains its importance and continues to interest fans.