RISMEDIA, Feb. 18, 2008-Each of the major sports has had some image problems recently, but their popularity all remains relatively unchanged since last year. Three in 10 Americans who follow one or more sport (30%) say that professional football is their favorite sport, almost unchanged from last year when 29% said it was their favorite. Coming in at second is baseball, as 15% say that is their favorite sport, again almost unchanged from last year when it was 14%. Not far behind baseball is college football (12%) and auto racing (10%). All other sports are in single digits.
These are the results of a nationwide Harris Interactive® survey conducted online between January 15 and 22, 2008 among 2,302 U.S. adults, of whom 1,562 follow one or more sport.
Since Harris Interactive began asking this question in 1985, professional football has always been on top and its popularity is now six points higher (from 24% to 30%). Compared to 1985′s results, baseball has dropped eight percentage points (from 23% to 15%), and men’s tennis has dropped four percentage points (from 5% to 1%).
Professional football isn’t the only sport to gain in popularity. Auto racing has also increased its popularity by five percentage points (from 5% to 10%) as has hockey (up 3 percentage points from 2% to 5%).
The survey also finds some sizable differences between different segments of the population:
- Pro football is most popular among those with household incomes of $50,000 to under $75,000 (39%), among those ages 25-29 (37%) and 65 and older (35%) and Easterners (34%). Hispanics (20%) and those with a post graduate education (23%) are least likely to call football their favorite sport;
- Baseball is most popular among Easterners (21%), those aged 30-39 (21%) and Democrats (20%). Southerners (8%) and those aged 65 and older (9%) are least likely to say baseball is their favorite sport;
- College football is particularly popular among those with a college degree (22%) and Southerners (20%). Just three percent of those who live in the East cite college football as their favorite sport;
- Auto racing (which includes NASCAR) is most popular among those aged 30-39 (14%), Southerners (13%) and Conservatives (13%), while it fares worst among Hispanics (1%), and those waged 18-24 (4%).
This Harris Poll® was conducted online within the United States January 15 and 22, among 2,302 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 1,562 follow one or more sport. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
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