SBD/January 28, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Pro Football's Popularity Rises According To Harris Poll, But Falls In GfK-AP Survey

Around 35% of U.S. adults who follow at least one sport say pro football is their favorite sport, while just 14% say baseball is their favorite, according to results of an annual survey from Harris Poll. The gap between the two sports grew from last year, when 34% said pro football was their favorite, while 16% said baseball was their favorite sport. This year marks the second largest gap between the two sports in the almost 30 years that the Harris survey has been conducted. The highest gap was in ’11, when it was 23 points, as 36% said pro football was their favorite sport and 13% said baseball. About 11% of sports fans said college football is their favorite sport, while 7% said auto racing, 6% said men’s pro basketball, 5% said hockey and 3% said men’s college basketball. Since Harris Poll first asked this question in ’85, football has seen an increase of 11 percentage points (24% vs. 35%). Baseball has gone down nine points (23% vs. 14%). Hockey has gone up three points, while men’s tennis, men’s college basketball and horse racing have each gone down three points (Harris Poll).

FAVORITE SPORTS AMONG U.S. FANS (CHOOSE ONE)
SPORT
'13
'12
'11
'10
'98
'85
Pro football
35%
34%
36%
31%
26%
24%
Baseball
14%
16%
13%
17%
18%
23%
College football
11%
11%
13%
12%
9%
10%
Auto racing
7%
8%
8%
7%
7%
5%
Men's pro basketball
6%
7%
5%
6%
13%
6%
Hockey
5%
5%
5%
5%
3%
2%
Men's college basketball
3%
3%
5%
4%
4%
6%
Men's tennis
2%
2%
2%
2%
4%
5%
Boxing
2%
1%
2%
1%
n/a
n/a
Swimming
2%
2%
2%
1%
n/a
n/a
Men's golf
2%
2%
2%
2%
4%
3%
Men's soccer
2%
2%
1%
4%
4%
3%
Horse racing
1%
1%
2%
1%
2%
4%
Track & field
1%
1%
1%
2%
3%
2%
Bowling
1%
1%
1%
2%
2%
3%
Women's tennis
1%
1%
1%
1%
n/a
n/a
Women's college basketball
1%
1%
*
*
1%
n/a
Women's pro basketball
*
*
*
*
*
n/a
Women's soccer
*
*
*
*
n/a
n/a
Women's golf
*
*
*
*
n/a
n/a
Not sure
3%
2%
1%
3%
1%
*
 

HARRIS POLL NOTES: Percentages may not add to up to 100% due to rounding. The Harris Poll was conducted online in the U.S. between Dec. 11-17, 2013 among 2,311 adults aged 18+. * = Less than 0.5% of respondents indicated as their favorite sport.

NOT SO FAST: A new poll from GfK and the AP found that 49% of U.S. adults consider themselves fans of pro football, which is down from 56% last year. The 49% level was the same among adults who said they were not fans of pro football, up from 43% last year. The GfK-AP poll was conducted online between Jan. 17-24 among 1,060 U.S. adults aged 18+. Among pro football fans, 68% said they would consider going to the Super Bowl if they could afford it, while 31% said they would not. Fans seemed primarily indifferent as to a plan to expand the NFL Playoffs to 14 teams. Around 45% were neither in favor of nor opposed to the idea, while 28% said they were opposed and 25% said they were in favor (GfK-AP).

Do You Consider Yourself A Fan Of Pro Football?
RESPONSE
'14
'13
Yes
49%
56%
No
49%
43%
Don’t know
n/a
1%
Refused/Not answered
1%
n/a
As A Pro Football Fan, If You Could Afford It, Would You Ever Consider Going To The Super Bowl?
RESPONSE
'14
Yes
68%
No
31%
Refused/Not answered
n/a
As A Pro Football Fan, How Do You Feel About The NFL's Plan To Expand The Playoffs To 14 Teams?
RESPONSE
'14
In Favor
26%
Neither in favor nor oppose
45%
Oppose
28%
Refused/Not answered
1%
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