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  • Poll Shows Popularity Of Pro Football Continues Growing While Baseball Slides

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    Pro and college football’s popularity continues to grow in the U.S., while the popularity of baseball and men’s tennis continues to decline, according to results from Harris Poll’s most recent survey of America’s favorite sports. Over one-third of U.S. adults (36%) who say they follow at least one sport say pro football is their favorite, while just 13% say baseball is their favorite. The gap between the two sports has widened. Last year, 31% chose pro football compared to 17% for baseball. Since the Harris Interactive first conducted this poll in ’85, pro football has gone up 12 percentage points, while during that same time baseball has gone down 10 points. College football, auto racing and hockey have all gone up three points, while men’s tennis has gone down three points.

    DEMOGRAPHICS: African-Americans aged 30-39 and with some college education are more likely than other demos to say pro football is their favorite sport, while those with a post-graduate education, born-again Christians and those aged 65+ are less likely to do so. When it comes to baseball, those aged 50-64, Hispanics and those in the Eastern U.S. are more likely to cite it as their favorite sport. African-Americans aged 30-39 and households with children are least likely to say baseball is their favorite sport (Harris Interactive).

    FAVORITE SPORTS AMONG U.S. FANS
    SPORT
    '11
    '10
    '09
    '08
    '98
    '85
    % POINTS CHANGE
    ('85-'11)
    Pro football
    36%
    31%
    35%
    31%
    26%
    24%
    12
    Baseball
    13%
    17%
    16%
    16%
    18%
    23%
    -10
    College football
    13%
    12%
    12%
    12%
    9%
    10%
    3
    Auto racing
    8%
    7%
    9%
    8%
    7%
    5%
    3
    Men's pro basketball
    5%
    6%
    5%
    6%
    13%
    6%
    1
    Men's college basketball
    5%
    4%
    3%
    5%
    4%
    6%
    -1
    Hockey
    5%
    5%
    4%
    5%
    3%
    2%
    3
    Men's tennis
    2%
    2%
    1%
    1%
    4%
    5%
    -3
    Boxing
    2%
    1%
    2%
    2%
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
    Horse racing
    2%
    1%
    2%
    1%
    2%
    4%
    -2
    Swimming
    2%
    1%
    1%
    2%
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
    Men's golf
    2%
    2%
    4%
    4%
    4%
    3%
    -1
    Track & field
    1%
    2%
    1%
    1%
    3%
    2%
    -1
    Men's soccer
    1%
    4%
    2%
    3%
    4%
    3%
    -2
    Bowling
    1%
    2%
    1%
    1%
    2%
    3%
    -2
    Women's tennis
    1%
    1%
    1%
    1%
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
    Women's pro basketball
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    N/A
    N/A
    Women's soccer
    *
    *
    *
    *
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
    Women's college basketball
    *
    *
    *
    *
    1%
    N/A
    N/A
    Women's golf
    *
    *
    *
    *
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
    Not sure
    1%
    3%
    2%
    1%
    1%
    *
    N/A
     

    NOTES: The Harris Poll was conducted online in the U.S. between Dec. 5-12, 2011 among 2,237 adults aged 18+, of which 1,466 said they followed at least one sport. * = Less than 0.5% of respondents indicated as their favorite sport.

    Print | Tags: Research and Ratings, Harris Interactive
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