Majority Of Sports Fans ‘Ready to Go, Now’ — Still, No Slam Dunk

Our ongoing Back to Normal Barometer research continues to pulse the attitudes and behaviors of sports fans as we navigate the ever fluid-scenarios of current events.

Our study tracked the fans of some 13 different major sports.  Most profound among our findings is the linearly increasing willingness of fans to re-engage in their favorite activities since we initiated the research in late March.

Today some 55% of sports fans who attended a live sports event in the past year, say they’re currently willing to do so now, without hesitation.  That’s up significantly from just over a third who felt the same way in late March.

But there’s a less than silver lining to this, in that 60% of fans felt the same in late May.  Why the slight drop off?

Nearly half of sports fans in our first June wave of research are very concerned about the impact of social unrest on the resumption of their favorite leisure activities.  That’s statistically just as many who are very concerned about the possibility of themselves or a loved one contracting COVID-19, which is at its lowest point since the inception of the study.

  • 55% ready to go back to live sporting events, with 27% needing additional assurances
  • Once assurances are in place, 36% are back in a month; 53% within two months;  more than 2/3 within three months
    • Fans of tennis, golf, soccer, boxing, hockey, NASCAR and horse racing among the quickest back.
    • However only a third believe that they are likely to (be able) to do so within the next two months.
  • Matrix of concern—
    • Only 48% very concerned that they or a loved one will contract COVID-19—Down from 49% in wave four and a five wave low!
    • 58% very concerned about public health crisis—Down from 60%
    • 47% very concerned about personal finances—was 46% in wave four
    • 61% very concerned about macro economy (26% gave it a 10 of 10)—Remains top concern
    • 47% very concerned about social unrest’s impact on resumption of leisure activities
  • Less than 50% now strongly agree that the interruption in live sports has created a significant void in their lives, off from 52% in wave four.  The number who were actively seeking sports to watch had been building since early April and has seen its first decline in the wave just completed this week.
    • Interestingly, golf fans have seen the most significant increase relative to fans of other sports in seeing digital platforms become more critical to stay informed over the past three months.
    • Football, basketball and baseball continue to receive the highest marks from their fans in their ability to maintain fan connections.