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Premier League tops worldwide poll of British icons

Premier League | Premier League | EY

3 min read Partner content

The Premier League has topped the British Icon Index, with British universities, the BBC and Rolls Royce second and joint third respectively. 

The index was compiled by UK research agency Populus, in an effort to determine how 15 British icons – also including Jaguar Land Rover, British film, the Monarchy and British Airways – performed in relation to a range of measures from being admired and trusted to being successful and globally recognised.

The survey collected the views of 4000 people from around the world, and found that the rankings varied significantly by country.

According to the data, wherever football was popular, the Premier League got the most positive feedback, although in other markets, British universities, the BBC, Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls Royce had the highest scores.

The research also found that the Premier League was the most popular choice among young affluent people across the countries polled.

Of the respondents, 84% said that the Premier League made them feel more positive towards the UK, with only British universities showing a higher correlation with the UK’s reputation around the world, at 88%. 

Responding to the findings, Business Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “The Premier League is one of Britain’s most recognised and most popular brands. It’s also one of our biggest and most successful businesses both at home and abroad. And there’s a lot more to British sport than the Premier League alone. Every year, sport contributes tens of billions of pounds to the British economy.

“But we must always remember the grass roots community spirit of sports throughout the country and not let business goals score more highly than goals on the pitch. New sports, new technologies, new audiences, new ways of participating. It all adds up to a future filled with new opportunities for business – but only if you put sport first.”

This research builds on a recent assessment of the Premier League’s economic impact by EY, which outlined the huge contribution the League and its clubs make to the UK economy.

The report highlighted the £2.4bn contribution made by the League in tax revenues to the exchequer, as well as the 100,000 jobs its clubs support and the £3.4bn it adds to GDP.

In revenue terms, it is now the third largest league in the world, behind the US Major League Baseball and NFL American Football, the assessment found.

Mark Gregory, Chief Economist at EY, said: “The success of the Premier League, which is grounded in the quality of the football competition, has created a ‘cycle of growth’.

“This should help ensure that the significant contribution to the UK economy and society will continue to increase in years ahead.”

Read more about the report's findings here.

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