The history of Sheffield Varsity

This year marks the 21st year of Sheffield Varsity. Starting in 1996,  the competition between Sheffield’s two universities, the university of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam university has now skyrocketed into the third largest university Varsity competition in the UK.

This year, the event comprises over 60 fixtures, 23 different venues, 1,000 athletes and 15,000 spectators.

The university of Sheffield have won the last four events. In the overall standings, Sheffield Hallam lead 10-8 with two draws. Hallam claim the longest consecutive winning streak, having won the competition 10 years in a row from 2002 to 2011.

Sheffield Hallam dominated the first part of the decade, before Sheffield University started to fight back.

To the non-student population of Sheffield, Sheffield Varsity probably doesn’t register much interest. But the event is one of the largest university sporting events in the country and uses a number of the world-class sporting facilities in the English city of sport.

However, the event has grown into a fixture on the sporting calendar. The final match of Varsity is Ice Hockey at Sheffield Arena. In 2015, the event sold out and set a new world record for the largest varsity match between universities outside of North America with over 8,000 spectators watching.

Former alumni who have since departed also make sure to keep an eye out on the Varsity action. Mark Mehta graduated from the University of Sheffield with a politics degree. Here is what he had to say about the importance of Varsity.

“I always keep an eye out on Varsity, you have an emotional connection to the university where I spent three years of my life.”

He added, “It is interesting to see how the reputation of the universities are getting on. The University of Sheffield has more of an academic stereotype, with sport not that important in our culture. Sport is quite important in Sheffield Hallam’s culture, which is interesting because Sheffield has won Varsity for the last couple of years, so its interesting to see if these reputations are still valid in 2017.”