Watching a sporting event makes a person happier.

Sports fans are happier than those who don't watch

Sports fans are happier than those who don't watch

Scientists have discovered that being a spectator releases feel-good hormones in the brain, even for those who are not die-hard fans.

Sports with big crowds such as football and rugby bring the most glee to individuals as they "foster a sense of community and belonging".

Professor Shintaro Sato, of Waseda University in Japan, studied over 20,000 people and found that sports fans rated their mental health better than those who did not spectate.

MRI scans revealed that the "reward centre" of a person's brain became very active when people tuned in to clips of sporting events.

Writing in the journal Sports Management Review, Professor Sato said: "The increase in brain activity in the reward circuits can be interpreted as feelings of happiness or pleasure.

"These results give an important insight that watching popular sport can improve wellbeing.

"The relationship can also be intensified by watching sport daily and it implies that the longer people watch sport in their daily lives, the more prominent the impact on their wellbeing may be."