The research project, set up in 2015, sets out to find the UK’s Greatest Sporting City and more than 5,000 fans from across the country are surveyed.
This year, Liverpool has taken top spot, with Commonwealth Games partner city Manchester coming second.
The news comes as Liverpool enters the final phase of competition to be nominated as the UK’s Candidate City to host the 2022 Games.
If successful, Liverpool 2022 will then bid with international cities before a final decision is taken by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) towards the end of the year.
- Watch ESPN video on Liverpool’s status as UK’s sporting No1 city:
Liverpool is offering a transformational Games vision that combines exceptional venues, the city’s iconic waterfront, and an innovative partnership with Manchester to deliver a celebration of sport like no other that will also help accelerate up to £1 billion of investment in the city.
Everton’s new stadium, at Bramley Moore Dock, will be the centre piece of the Games hosting athletics, while a new 50m swimming pool would be built in Liverpool docks. Archery will take place at the iconic Aintree Racecourse while other world class sites such as the Echo Arena and Convention Centre [ACC], Anfield, and the Manchester Velodrome and Old Trafford Cricket Ground also playing key roles.
Liverpool 2022 bid chair, Brian Barwick, said: “To be recognised as the UK’s number one sports city is fantastic news, not only for our bid but for our city. If we win the honour of staging the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the CGF and Government will know that it is bringing it to a city that is dynamic, sports mad and fun to be in.
Double Olympic heptathlete and Liverpudlian, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, said: “It’s great to see that ESPN has recognised Liverpool as the UK’s number one sporting city. As someone born and raised in Liverpool, I already know what an amazing place it is. I believe we have a real passion for life, we welcome visitors with a smile and we have a proud sporting tradition which all contributes to make Liverpool a great city.
“It will be amazing for athletics to take place in the brand new Everton Stadium if we are awarded the 2022 Commonwealth Games and I am really excited at the prospect of some of the greats in world sport coming to compete in my hometown. I know Liverpool will create the perfect platform to host a truly inspiring and transformational Commonwealth Games in a city that lives and breathes sport.”
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson added: “Liverpool has a proud sporting history, and to be recognised internationally for this is a great honour. Our vision is to make the entire UK proud of Liverpool, and it is special to know that fans up and down the country already respect our sporting prestige.
“Sport is a tool to change the lives of many, and we believe that Liverpool 2022 will do exactly this. The Games will help to fast-track up to a billion pounds of investment for the city, and we are working around the clock to persuade the Government that this bid is perfect to showcase Britain to the world.”