Given Austria’s location and prevailing weather, one might presume that the most popular sports variants are winter sports. However, while Austrians love various winter sports, they are also very fond of sports like football and rugby.
Sports are a prominent part of the Austrians’ lives, and the country has produced some of the most prominent sportspeople over the years, including Hermann Maier, Toni Sailer, and Annemarie Moser-Pröll, some of the top Alpine skiers of their times.
If you are curious about which sports are more popular in Austria, here is your chance to find out.
Football In Austria
Like their European counterparts, Austrians love football more than any other sport. Men and women of all ages love to play the sport, and you will see locals playing with friends and peers in the local parks and grounds. It is also popular as a spectator sport as the locals like to watch the biggest leagues in action.
The country also has some of the most advanced and well-developed football facilities. The Bundesliga is the top men’s professional football league and has 12 teams from across the country. The winners of the league go on to compete in the European Champions League. For women, the top league is the OFB-Frauenliga.
The Austrian national team has not been able to qualify for the FIFA World Cup since 1998. However, their performance in the European Championships has been much better as the team qualified for the tournament in 2016 and 2021. The team’s matches against its arch-rival Hungary are some of the most watched sports events in the country.
Skiing In Austria
Next on our list is skiing. Austria is known for its strength in ski jumping around the world. The country’s geographical dynamics, with its beautiful alpine landscapes and mountainside resorts, facilitate the development of the sport in the country and have contributed to its increasing popularity.
Skiing is also one of the most popular spectator sports as the locals come to witness international downhill skiing events. The ski resorts are brimming with people from Europe and beyond around that time of the year.
People are advised to be wary of adverse weather conditions and watch out for avalanche warnings if they are headed to the skiing regions.
Ice Hockey In Austria
If you are not from around Central Europe, you might find it surprising that ice hockey happens to be one of the most prevalent sports in Austria. It is one of the most popular winter sports in the country and is equally played by men and women. While it may not attract crowds as large as football matches, it surely has a huge fan following.
The ICE Hockey League is the top professional ice hockey league for men in Austria. The league comprises eleven teams, most of which are from across the country, while some are from neighbouring countries like Slovakia and Italy. The Austrian ice hockey team from Klagenfurt, the EC KAC, is regarded as the strongest team in the league. For the women’s ice hockey teams, the Dameneishockey-Bundesliga is the top professional league.
Winter Sports In Austria
Although we have already discussed skiing and ice hockey in the article, our list of the most popular sports in Austria cannot be complete without a separate mention of winter sports since so many variants are popular throughout the country. The locals are very fond of winter sports, be it curling and figure skating or cross-country skiing.
Locals like to indulge in winter sports, including young and old, during their vacations. To ski across long-distance courses or trails is an adventure for them. On the professional front, top Austrian skiers can be seen competing in various events while the country also hosts international cross-country skiing competitions.
Motorsports In Austria
Another surprising entry to the list of popular sports in Austria is motorsports. However, Austria has a long and rich history of motorsports. You may have heard of Niki Lauda, the legendary Formula 1 racer who was born in Vienna. Besides Niki Lauda, fifteen other Austrian drivers have also made a mark in the sport.
Austria also hosts the Austrian Grand Prix every year at the Red Bull Circuit in Spielberg, Styria. The event is a huge crowd puller as thrill-seeking racing fans come to see the motorists in action.
Besides the sports mentioned above, Austrians are also very fond of tennis. The country may not be very famous for the sport internationally, but it is widely played, and the country also features well-equipped tennis facilities. Austrian tennis player Dominic Thiem won the men’s US Open in 2020. Moreover, Austria hosts various international tennis tournaments, including the ATP Vienna Open and the WTA Linz Open.