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Tense Tournaments: Which Sport Stresses Fans Out the Most?

January 17, 2023

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When it comes to fandom, sports fans are some of the most passionate. They invest their time and money, follow stats and standings and feel every tense moment of each game. 

But which sport stresses fans out the most? We explored which sports tournaments and teams generate the most tension and stress among fans by analyzing how they discuss the matches online. 

What We Did

We analyzed 490,000 tweets for negative sentiment using A.I tool TensiStrength to determine which teams and tournaments have the most stressed fans. Examining ten of the world’s most popular sports, from boxing and poker to baseball and rugby, including the bases of every NBA and NFL team, as well as the top five football leagues and teams in Europe.

For this study, we have deemed a ‘fan’ as anyone using the related hashtag online. Data accurate as of December 2022. 

Which football club’s fans are the most stressed watching their team?

European football has a long and rich sporting history with the trophies to match. So with their highly competitive leagues and fierce tournaments, we wanted to find out which clubs have the most stressed fans.

Our analysis of tweets from across Europe found Eintracht Frankfurt fans to be the most stressed, with 35.6% of their tweets being negative.

Interestingly, within the top 10, 90% of the teams are in the Bundesliga, making it the most stressful league overall for football fans to watch. 

Footnotes: Analyzing 337,000 tweets for negative sentiment, Replay Poker ranked the top 10 football clubs across Europe’s top five leagues.

Which Premier League club’s fans are the most stressed watching their team?

Football is renowned the world over, and with the Premier League considered the most competitive in the world, there is no surprise that club fans are venting their frustrations online.

As the league progresses week by week so does fan tension, with Everton supporters communicating the most stress with 25.1% of negative tweets.

Footnotes: Analyzing 97,000 tweets for negative sentiment, Replay Poker ranked the top 20 Premier League teams.

Which NBA fans are the most stressed watching their team?

As a highly competitive and lucrative sport, basketball has a massive fanbase all over the world. You might have heard of the LA Lakers, Chicago Bulls, or Orlando Magic, but do you know which teams are the most stressful to watch?

We found that Miami Heat literally turned up the temperature alongside their mascot Burnie, with fans displaying the highest levels of negativity across the NBA with 32.4% unfavorable tweets.

On the flipside, the Sacramento Kings accrued only 15.5% of negative tweets — making their fans the kings of relaxation in 30th place among the NBA teams analyzed.

Footnotes: Analyzing 75,000 tweets for negative sentiment, Replay Poker ranked the top 10 NBA teams.

Which NFL fans are the most stressed watching their team?

A 2022 US survey showed that American football is the most popular sport in the US, with three in four people following the season each year. Its popularity has spread to the UK as well, with the Tottenham Hotspur stadium becoming the first purpose-built NFL stadium outside of the US. 

But who among those fans is most stressed supporting their team?

With 36.8% of negative tweets it is no surprise Indianapolis Colts’ fans top the chart, with poor performance leading to the firing of their head coach Frank Reich mid-season in 2022. Following the Colts closely in second place is the New Orleans Saints with only a 0.3% difference.

Footnotes: Analyzing 80,000 tweets for negative sentiment, Replay Poker ranked the top NFL teams.

Which sports do fans get the most stressed watching?

We have looked at which football clubs, NFL and NBA teams stress out their fans the most, but which sport is overall the most stressful for its fans to watch?

The combative sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) tops the list for causing fan frustration, with 32.49% of 46,033 tweets revealing negative sentiment. Boxing follows closely in second place with 28.45%.

Gambling offers high stakes, but at least Texas Hold’em poker fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as its fans are the least stressed, with only 13.6% of tweets being negative.

Though, even with the least stressed-out fans compared to other sports, many poker tournaments can get tense – The Battle of Malta 2022 poker tournament, for example, had 35.3% negative tweets relating to the event.

Or get the best of both worlds at Replay Poker, where you can play without the stress or the stakes.

Footnotes: With a seed list of sports and additional hashtags, we ranked the 10 sports that cause the most stress among fans. 


To find out which sports stress fans out the most we examined 490,000 tweets from fans who reacted to their sports teams during matches and tournaments. Calculating how many negative tweets football, NBA, and NFL teams received, as well as the top ten most watched sports, including poker. 

The stress level in tweets were measured with TensiStrength, an AI tool, using a scale of -1 to -5, with tweets between -2 and -5 being considered stressed. 

All data is correct as of December 2022.