The World’s Most Dangerous Spectator Sports

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As our lives continue down the path of boring 9-5 jobs and we stare at computer screens for most of the day, some of you might be considering taking some risks and trying out something new, something other people might consider dangerous.

There are some of you that wish they could be the person that tries out some risks, maybe jump out of a plane or tease a crocodile with a stick that’s just too short. But we can’t all be those people! If you’re considering doing something crazy but would like to tone it down a little bit, then why not try out some of the most dangerous spectator sports in the world. You can still brag to your friends about how you’ve been a bit of a daredevil that weekend and not break the bank. You’ll also have loads of witnesses around (and probably TV cameras) so you can show off the evidence to everyone that doubts you.


It might not seem like much but statistically, football is quite a dangerous sport – especially in England. Football has a long standing history of violence in terms of riots and fans fighting each other. We all know that an away day to your closest rival in the league will always lead to someone throwing a punch as the majority of you look on in disbelief.

That aside, being a spectator, especially in the seats behind the goal, can be a fairly dangerous past-time. It doesn’t seem like much but professional footballers can hit the ball pretty hard. And if your Dad isn’t the protective type you could easily wind up with a ball to the face. Just look at this clip.

Or at the very least, one of them might try to drop kick you in the chest…


For those Americans out there reading this, be careful of the rodeo! It might be one hell of a loved event in the southern states of America, but it holds an inherent risk to spectators. As much as the cowboys put themselves at risk by riding crazed bulls and bucking broncos, the crowd are aware that there’s a possibility that these animals may get loose and jump over the dancing that holds them in. There have been instances where horses have jumped the fence and panicked, taking down a few fans with them. Might sound like nothing but you won’t be able to out manoeuvre these creatures. Plus they’re much, MUCH bigger than you.

Gresford Rodeo. Photo credit: Flickr_Brandon Holton


Next on the list isn’t something you would have jumped to straight away but here it is: Baseball. The American version of cricket, with more beer, shouting, money and saturated fats thrown in, it’s the American cousin of the gentleman’s game in England and is incredibly popular.

You might think that sitting in the bleachers of a baseball game doesn’t put you at risk but there are countless examples of people getting hit in the face by foul balls (normally hit at 90mph plus), bats that have slipped out of the hands of the professionals paid to hold on to them, or being an overzealous fan and trying to catch the foul ball coming towards you. One such incident had a lady try to grab a foul ball and fall 20ft to the concrete floor. But the one article that will make you sob the saddest tears is an article from Atlanta Magazine.

It tells the story of a young girl who was hit in the head by a foul ball travelling at 100mph. It shattered her skull into 30-odd little pieces but doctors were able to save her life. It’s an interesting read so definitely get stuck in, but remember that dangers that it speaks about.

Spectators look on at the Reds vs. SF Giants game. Photo credit: Flickr 5chw4r7z

Motor Racing

This next one is an umbrella type of category as motor racing is one of the most dangerous spectator sports out there. Because when it goes wrong, it goes really wrong. If you take a look at NASCAR in the States, it’s a bunch of people driving cars around an oval track for 500-or-so laps at an incredible rate of speed. Sometimes these vehicles collide with each other and they’ll make it into the barriers, and sometimes into the crowd. It could be debris, a tyre or the car.

Countless people have been injured watching this sport and not matter what anyone says to you, if you’re sat that close to the racing with the speeds they’re travelling at, you’re definitely a risk taker. Almost certainly classed as a nutter at the very least.

Twinned with NASCAR has to be Formula 1. Despite safety being paramount as the years go by (not just to the drivers but spectators also) accidents still happen. Collisions happen, tyres fly off and people get hit by whatever is travelling towards them at 140mph. The amount of spectator deaths has never been too high but as the years go by, those numbers decrease as safety goes up.

Nascar Fast relief 500. Photo credit: Flickr Jarrett Campbell

Ice Hockey

This next sport falls in the same category as football (or soccer depending on where you live), but ice hockey has been known to throw out its fair share of injuries to the people who have paid to watch it.

We all know that the rink is surrounded by glass, and it was only in the 2002-2003 season where they added netting to the glass (behind both goals) not long after a 13-year-old girl lost her life after being hit by a puck. Don’t think it would hurt? I can promise you that vulcanised rubber is very painful.

The majority of these sports, especially the ones that you will see on TV quite regularly, will all have risks attached to them when you’re a spectator. The thing is, and it’s pointed out in the baseball article, is that the majority of clubs will not keep a record of small injuries/general injuries. At least they won’t admit they do. They are obliged to keep a record of deaths but injury statistics damages the game therefore damaging the revenue for the club.

Ice Hockey fight. Photo credit: Flickr mark6mauno

So next time you watch a baseball game, or a football match, go back into work the next day and tell your colleague about the crazy daredevil weekend you had. But always keep you mind on the risks involved, even as a punter.

Feature image: Spectators cheer at the Pocono Raceway during the NASCAR event. Photo credit: felicito rustique, jr

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Kel Verbiest

Kel is a content manager and sports writer based on the south coast of England. When he's not typing away, you can find him in several super people watching spots.


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