A study of 1,000 people from the LGBTQ+ community found that 34 percent of those who attended a live sporting event experienced homophobic or transphobic abuse while sitting in the stands, an average of four times.
While four in 10 felt unwelcome because of their gender or sexuality.
More than half (53 percent) of those who experienced problems at a sporting event were watching men’s soccer, with 23 percent watching women’s soccer.
Cricket, swimming and tennis were also key events where LGBTQ+ adults suffered homophobic or transphobic abuse.
The inquiry comes ahead of the TCS London Marathon on Sunday, where official automotive partner Nissan UK is creating its LGBTQ+ inclusive Cheer Zone, providing a lively atmosphere for spectators on the “Rainbow Row” section of the race.
Adele Roberts, one of Nissan UK’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Ambassadors, said: “Everyone should feel comfortable playing sports or attending any sporting event, regardless of their gender or sexuality.
“The fact that nearly half of LGBTQ+ fans feel uncomfortable watching live sports shows why the Cheer Zone is so important.
“It was an honor to be a part of Rainbow Row in last year’s marathon, helping to create a safe and inclusive space for the LGBTQ+ community, and our allies, family and friends, and this year I look forward to running as a proud member of the community. ”
However, it also emerged that it’s not just when they watch a sport, as 38 per cent of those who have participated in a team game have experienced abuse from their own side due to their sexuality.
Nearly half (46 percent) of those who confronted them in person, but 32 percent remained silent.
After being confronted, three-quarters said the abuser tried to justify his comments as “jokes.”
More than half (54 per cent) have also witnessed someone direct homophobic or transphobic abuse at another person, with this occurring more in football, rugby, basketball and Formula 1.
And while 49 percent said the abuse was directed at those who watched the sport, 23 percent saw gamers as targets.
Although 27 percent saw both groups mistreated.
The research, conducted via OnePoll, also revealed that 45 percent of all LGBTQ+ adults surveyed said that homophobic or transphobic “jokes” have always been a part of sports culture.
And 85 per cent feel that the sport still needs to improve to be inclusive for all, and 44 per cent believe that it is less progressive and tolerant than society as a whole.