Ahead of the Guinness Six Nations tournament, a new report commissioned by Greene King has revealed that UK rugby fans have been crowned the single friendliest group of sport supporters.
Compared to some sports, data reveals that the Six Nations tournament is seen by many as a valuable way of connecting with other cultures. Two in 5 fans (38%) say that watching the tournament helps them to understand other countries and their cultures better.
To put the pub culture research to the test ahead of the tournament, Greene King sent former England rugby international player Ugo Monye and TV star Jake Quickenden to explore pub culture across all of the Six Nations.
In less than a week, the duo toured between the tournament cities in each country – Lyon, Rome, Dublin, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London, to see how the pub culture compares in each location.
The research found that UK rugby fans were voted as the single friendliest group of supporters (25%), beating out tennis fans (21%) and football fans (21%).
The research also found that England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, collectively known as the Home Nations, are more likely to show their support to the game and their local, soaking up the atmosphere by spending up to £20 per person when watching sport in pubs.– as it seems UK sport fans contribute more per person to the UK economy, than their counterparts in the remaining nations.
Conversely, fans in Italy and France both spend an average of £12.90 per person (€15), when watching a major sporting tournament in the pub, showing the scale of the UK’s national pride and commitment to pub sport.
Former England international, Ugo Monye said, “Having experienced the Six Nations time and time again as both a player and a commentator, it’s fascinating to get under the skin of what the tournament means to people in each country.
“It’s clear that wherever we go, there’s a common ground between fans – a lively atmosphere is a must when people come together to watch the tournament, as well as a very friendly rivalry that’s unmatched in other sports.
“On the road I taught Jake a thing or two about rugby and took him under my wing, but I also learned a lot in each country too, like how it feels to have ‘The Flower of Scotland’, the unofficial Scottish national anthem, serenaded to me by a true Scottish bagpiper!”
TV star Jake Quickenden said, “I came into this tournament as a complete rugby novice, and it can sometimes feel intimidating if you’re surrounded by hardcore fans as you’re worried about saying the wrong thing or asking a silly question.
“This trip has shown me that rugby fans, particularly in the Home Nations, have something special about them. There’s such a huge sense of community in UK sports pubs and, although we’ve been welcomed in every nation, the sense of inclusiveness in pubs in the UK is on another level.
“What’s more, partnered with a rugby legend like Ugo, I learned more than just the rugby ‘lingo’ - as an international player, through his passion he has soaked up countries’ cultures along the way and introduced me to the French “demi-peche”, half a pint and peach syrup, that I enjoyed very much!”
Sport is vital in keeping the beer flowing in pubs and bars across the four Home Nations. During last year’s Six Nations, more than 3 million pints were poured over a nine-day period across Greene King pubs.
It’s not just finances where Home Nation fans come out on top, data has revealed there’s an unmistakable community element to UK pubs shared by Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales with 44% of UK pub goers drinking in rounds with their friends, compared to 38% of Italian drinkers and 29% of French drinkers.
Michelle West, Head of Sport for Greene King sport said, “Sport has such an important role to play in the very fabric of UK pub culture, and it’s clear that pub goers up and down the country will be coming out in force to show support for their respective teams during the Six Nations tournament.
“We know the UK is not alone in its love of pub sport culture, from research and our own Six Nation pub culture tour – we welcome, with open arms, all nationalities to come together under one big Greene King roof to watch the game and share in the magic and excitement of a multi-national tournament experience – rugby fan, or not!
“This couldn’t have been more the case for Ugo and Jake, having never met before, they instantly clicked – a blend of rugby know-how mixed with banter and comedy. Sport brings people of all nations and backgrounds together.”