Bradford In Top 35 Cities To Be A Sports Fan In The Country

The city's rugby league supporters were praised as part of the nationwide research.

Bradford has been ranked as the 34th best city in the UK for sports fans.

Research from ESPN and the University of Bath examined 12 factors which fans identified as key to a great sporting city - including value for money, success, atmosphere, history, venues and transport links.

Value for money was rated as the main factor this year, with 20% of fans saying it was most important.  Matchday Atmosphere came second, with 17% of fans saying it was most important, whilst Club Success received 15% of fan votes.

Thomas Curran is an assistant professor at the University of Bath, where the research took place, and pointed out the success of the rugby league supporters in the area.

"It's not a disasterous result, and they do tend to quite well, particularly the rugby league side, so when we condense the scores by sport we find that Bradford does exceptionally well in terms of rugby league fan satisfaction," he said.  "But there are other areas where it doesn't do quite so well, particularly on things like sporting choice - there's only one or two options in the town, and there's only one or two venues in the town as well.

"Bradford has beaten Wigan, who were just behind in 36th place.  There's a big rugby league rivalry there, and Bradford have pipped them this year."

Mr Curran also said the result is something the city should be proud of, as lots of factors, such as history, are difficult to influence.

"Bradford's also come above cities such as Barnsley, Coventry, Stoke, Bournemouth and Middlesborough - those are the bigger cities that they've finished above, so it's not a disasterous result," he added.  "There are a lot of fixed factors in this survey, things like history, economic impact, and sporting participation of the population.  It would be difficult for Bradford, unless they had an amazing season like Leicester City in 2016, to propel themselves up the league through fan satisfaction alone, but that's not to say they haven't done well on other areas.  The rugby league fan perception is always high in the town."

Elsewhere in Yorkshire, Leeds rose one place to fourth, ensuring a top five finish nationally for the third consecutive year - whilst also maintaining its position as the top city for both rugby league and cricket fans.  Sheffield was ranked fifth, while Hull came 15th.  York, Barnsley and Doncaster all remained in the bottom half of the national rankings.

Liverpool replaced Leicester as the country's Greatest Sporting City, with Manchester second and London third.  Blackpool came last for the third year running, with Ipswich second-bottom.  Swindon came 47th to complete the bottom three.

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