THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Scientists develop the ultimate experiment to measure excitement using football and fast cars

With the climax of the UEFA Champions League season on the horizon, Nissan – the official global automotive sponsor of the competition – has put football to the ultimate test, assessing whether the thrill of the game is more exciting than being a passenger in the iconic GT-R supercar.

In partnership with sports science experts at Loughborough University, Nissan fitted participants with wearable technology to monitor and gather a combined index of data. This included heart rate, breathing rate and electro-dermal activity, in order to examine the physiological effect excitement has, and ultimately determine which activity is more exciting.

Live match experiments took place during crunch UEFA Champions League fixtures and were compared to the reactions of passengers raced around by professional drivers in Nissan GT-Rs at the famous Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.


Physical response

UEFA Champions League football matches

GT-R track day

Average Heart Rate   Increase



Average Heart Rate

91 BPM


Average Peak Heart   Rate



Average Breathing Rate   Increase



Average Breathing Rate

15 breaths per min

15 breaths per min

Average Peak Breathing   Rate

35 breaths per min

35 breaths per min

When comparing the findings from the two sets of experiments, Dr. Dale Esliger from Loughborough University commented: “Previously we would have subjectively judged how exciting a crunch football fixture or being a passenger in a thrilling super car, like the Nissan GT-R, would be. The research conducted as part of the Nissan Excitement Index has allowed us to use innovative sensor data to understand the participants’ physical reaction to these exciting moments and thus make suggestions on what elements might be the most exciting.

Throughout the two sets of experiments the heart rates of football fans and Nissan GT-R passengers were broadly comparable, with them increasing at peak moments as you would expect – such as when a goal was scored or driving round a tight corner.

The main differences we saw were the physiological responses of the passengers and football supporters breathing rates. During the football matches we saw breathing rate increasing followed by a reduction in breathing rate, as fans held their breath during key moments of anticipation, thus demonstrating their excitement journey across the course of 90 minutes is more of a rollercoaster of emotions. Whilst for the GT-R passengers breathing rate consistently increases, suggesting a more sustained feeling of excitement.”

“Excitement is at the heart of everything we do” said Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Vice President for Marketing at Nissan Europe. “Our iconic GT-R super car and sponsorship of the exciting UEFA Champions League, are just two examples of how we strive to bring innovation and excitement to everyone. Now, through our partnership with Loughborough University we have been able to understand the physical effect excitement has on the human body. Our ultimate aim is to develop a global Excitement Index, across a whole range of exciting activities – the possibilities of where we might go next are endless.”