Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, USA, have claimed football (‘soccer’) is the most exciting sport to watch. The study, excluding motor sport and confined to English football, American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey, asserts that football is exciting because of the frequency with which it delivers surprise results.
Were such logic applied to Formula One, in the case of the 2005 season, 12 of 19 rounds were won by someone other than the eventual champion. But a realistic study of what makes a sport exciting cannot be confined to a simple statistical survey – the physical and mental extremes the competitors are subject to is part of it; the ability of a race, game or match to sustain tension for long periods; the risks to which the participants are subjected and similar factors all play a part.
To put it more bluntly, a football match or F1 race where the most likely winner triumphs needn’t be dull – consider the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix, for example.