USA has once again topped Sportcal’s Global Sports Nations Index in 2017, fighting off a challenge from the United Kingdom which rises to second as Russia falls one place to third.

USA has for the second edition in a row topped Sportcal’s Global Sports Nations Index, placing ahead of the United Kingdom and Russia, with a total score of 40,555.

The United Kingdom has risen two places having secured the UCI Road World Championships for Yorkshire in 2019; the WTF World Taekwondo Championships 2019 in Manchester, and the Rugby League World Cup 2021 which will take place across multiple cities in England.

Russia has lost ground at the top due to the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships 2017 and World Biathlon Championships 2021 both being reassigned following the widely-reported ‘state-supported’ doping scandal in Russian sport. Both the IBSF and IBU came under pressure to move their flagship events elsewhere.

China moves ahead of Canada having secured the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships 2018 as well as two major badminton events in the BWF World Championships 2018 and Sudirman Cup 2019.

As Japan builds on the number of events it is hosting prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, it climbs two positions to 6th ahead of Germany and Italy which each fall one position. Despite not counting towards its index score this year, Japan remains in a strong position for future indices having secured the Asian Games 2026 for Aichi and Nagoya.

France switches place with Brazil as the impact of the Fifa World Cup 2014 and Olympic Games 2016 begins to fade.

Austria, having climbed three positions in November 2016’s index, climbs a further two positions, this time at the expense of Korea and Spain, having been awarded UCI’s Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships in the disciplines of downhill and four-cross.

Denmark has increased its total score by more than any other nation since the last publication of the index, closing a gap of more than 3,000 points to overtake the Netherlands with the two nations placing 14th and 15th respectively. Since November 2016, Denmark has been awarded the IAAF 43rd World Cross Country Championships 2019, UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships 2019 and the Women's World Handball Championships 2023 which it will co-host with Norway and Sweden.

Switzerland climbs two positions in to 16th after winning bids for the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships 2019 and BWF World Championships 2019, pushing Qatar and Sweden down one position each whilst Australia remains in 19th position.

Hungary makes its way in to the top 20 global sports nations for the first time following a number of bid awards such as the Fencing World Championships and Modern Pentathlon World Championships, both for 2019. Despite withdrawing from the race to host the Olympic Games in 2024, Hungary has undoubtedly benefitted from the increase in international exposure, securing no less than four major world championships over the past 12 months alone.

The index covers a rolling 14-year rolling period and as we move in to 2017, events which took place in 2010 drop off the index. As a result, top scoring major events from 2010 such as the Fifa World Cup, which took place across South Africa; the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China; Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada; and the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India no longer register points for these host cities and nations.

Significant moves

Outside of the top 20 Global Sports Nations, Belgium climbs highest, up seven places to 27th in the index. Belgium hosted last year’s UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships and is scheduled to host next year’s UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships.

The Philippines is the biggest climber (+16) ahead of Panama and Hong Kong (both +14). The Philippines was awarded the FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2018 in November last year whilst Hong Kong will host this year’s UCI Track World Championships.

Singapore (-24), South Africa (-19) and Slovenia (-14) are the biggest fallers in this year’s index. Singapore hosted the Youth Olympic Games in 2010 which no longer registers within the analysis period of the index. South Africa withdrew from hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022 which contributed to its fall in score whilst Slovenia’s 2010 hosting of the World Winter Masters Games, ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships and FIS Ski Flying World Championships all no longer register. 

Past & Future Global Sports Nation:

The United Kingdom has taken the title of Past Sports Nation, moving up four places and surpassing USA (2nd), Canada (3rd) and Russia (4th).

Brazil (5th) is the standout Past Global Sports Nation having hosted two mega events in the form of the Fifa World Cup 2014 and Olympic and Paralympic Games 2016 but has secured few events since. Brazil will continue to fall down the index in years to come unless future major events are secured.


Japan retains the mantle of Future Sports Nation for April 2017 with major events such as the Rugby World Cup 2019 and Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 now on the horizon. Japan is likely to remain high on the index in years to come as it has already secured the Asian Games in 2026.

USA remain in second position whilst China (3rd) climbs five positions, ahead of the United Kingdom (4th) and Russia (5th).

Denmark (6th) climbs 11 places, more than any other, following the awards of the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships 2019, 2021 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships and Women's World Handball Championships 2023 which will be hosted across Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Qatar (7th), Switzerland (8th) and Italy (9th) all rise whilst Germany (10th) falls six places.

Sportcal’s Global Sports Nations Index can be viewed in full here.

Global Sports Nations and Cities Index:

The Global Sports Nations and Cities Index is based on in-depth analysis of major multisport games and world championships over a rolling 14-year period, covering seven years in the past (including the current year) and seven years in the future. In total, 86 nations and 621 cities have hosted, or are scheduled to host events during this period.

Bids awarded up to and including 19 March 2017 have been included in the April 2017 index.

Each event is given a weighting based on its Global Sports Impact (GSI) Event Rating – this rating is calculated using the latest event data across a range of indicators which measures the size, scale and impact of an event.

The GSI Event Ratings are then attributed to the host nations and cities, producing the Global Sports Nations and Cities Index. A time weighting is given, so that events in the current year are worth 100 per cent of the rating value, while events in previous or future years are worth less.

The April 2017 index further increased the number of events analysed with 705 events across 151 categories, in 81 sports, including summer and winter Olympic sports and Olympic ‘recognised’ sports. The GSI Project and GSI Event Studies Programme aims to engage with more international federations in future in order to include every world championship event of members of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF) within the Global Sports Nations and Cities Index.

For further information about the GSI Project or the Global Sports Nations and Cities Index, contact