SBD/January 25, 2011/Research and Ratings

Pro Football Continues Popularity Among U.S. Sports Fans

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Nearly three in 10 Americans who follow at least one sport said that pro football is their favorite sport, according to data from the Harris Poll. Seventeen percent chose baseball as their favorite sport, narrowing the gap slightly from last year when more than 35% of sports fans said pro football was their favorite sport, compared to 16% who said it was baseball. The most recent poll also found that 12% of respondents said college football was their favorite sport, while 7% chose auto racing. Two sports from the most recent poll -- women's pro basketball and women's college basketball -- were not listed as the favorite sports of any fans. Since the Harris Poll first began asking this question in '85, pro football has increased seven percentage points and baseball has fallen six percentage points (Harris Interactive).

FAVORITE SPORTS AMONG U.S. FANS
SPORT
'10
'09
'08
'98
'85
% POINTS
CHANGE ('85-10)
Pro football
31%
35%
31%
26%
24%
7
Baseball
17%
16%
16%
18%
23%
-6
College football
12%
12%
12%
9%
10%
2
Auto racing
7%
9%
8%
7%
5%
2
Men's pro basketball
6%
5%
6%
13%
6%
0
Hockey
5%
4%
5%
3%
2%
3
Men's soccer
4%
2%
3%
4%
3%
1
Men's college basketball
4%
3%
5%
4%
6%
-2
Men's golf
2%
4%
4%
4%
3%
-1
Track & field
2%
1%
1%
3%
2%
0
Bowling
2%
1%
1%
2%
3%
-1
Men's tennis
2%
1%
1%
4%
5%
-3
Boxing
1%
2%
2%
N/A
N/A
N/A
Horse racing
1%
2%
1%
2%
4%
-3
Women's tennis
1%
1%
1%
N/A
N/A
N/A
Swimming
1%
1%
2%
N/A
N/A
N/A
Women's pro basketball
0%
*
*
*
N/A
N/A
Women's soccer
*
*
*
N/A
N/A
N/A
Women's college basketball
0%
*
*
1%
N/A
N/A
Women's golf
*
*
*
N/A
N/A
N/A
Not sure
3%
2%
1%
1%
*
N/A
 






NOTES: * = Result was less than 0.5%. N/A = sport was not among answers during that year's question.

 

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