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Volume 24 No. 176
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Gallup Poll: Football's Popularity Down In U.S., But Still Leads; Soccer Has Best Mark Yet

Football is still the most popular U.S. spectator sport, but it is losing some popularity, while the number of Americans who say they do not have a favorite sport has grown from 8% in ’00 to 15% in ’17, according to data from a recent Gallup poll. Football was picked by 37% of survey respondents as the most popular sport, down from 39% during the last poll in '13. Football’s peak in the survey came in '06 and '07 at 43%. Spectators ages 18-34 are the demo least likely to pick football as their favorite, but the sport still has a comfortable margin compared to the competition in the age group. The next-most popular sports in ’17 were basketball (11%) and baseball (9%). That figure for baseball is the sport’s lowest mark since Gallup began the poll on favorite sports in ’37. Baseball was most popular in ’48 and ’60, but football has held the top spot since ’72. Soccer ranked fourth in ’17 at 7%, which is the sport’s highest mark yet. Only once before have at least 7% of Americans named a sport other than football, basketball or baseball as their favorite -- auto racing in ’97 (Gallup).

GALLUP POLL: FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? (SELECT SPORTS LISTED)
SPORT
2017
2013
2008
2003
1997
Football
37%
39%
41%
37%
30%
Basketball
11%
12%
9%
14%
17%
Baseball
9%
14%
10%
10%
14%
Soccer
7%
4%
3%
2%
2%
Ice Hockey
4%
3%
4%
5%
3%
Auto Racing
2%
2%
3%
5%
7%
Tennis
2%
3%
1%
1%
2%
Golf
1%
2%
2%
3%
5%

METHODOLOGY: Gallup polled a sample of 1,049 Americans in the 50 states and DC from Dec. 4-11, 2017. Random interviews over the phone were 70% cell phone, 30% landline.