Fans Would Be Just As Upset by Lack of Football as Losing the White House

August 4, 2020 by Dan McCue
In this Dec. 7, 2019, photo, a player prepares to hike the ball at the line of scrimmage during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game between Ohio State and Wisconsin in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)

WASHINGTON – Football fans for teams at both the college and professional level would be just as upset by a season without games as they would by their preferred candidate losing the race for the While House, a new survey has found.

According to the latest “Back-to-Normal Barometer,” roughly 50% of college football fans and 49% of NFL fans under age 44 would be more upset if the upcoming football season was cancelled. 

At the same time, 50% of these college football fans and 51% of NFL fans would be more upset if the presidential candidate that they voted for lost the upcoming election.

“Our findings have consistently shown that there is a huge pent up demand for live sports and the passion of fans has manifested itself in large spikes in anticipation and deprivation over the course of the pandemic,” said Jon Last, president of the Sports and Leisure Research Group, one of the three firms, along with Engagious and ROKK Solutions, that conducted the survey. 

“But now as we see most sports resuming in some way, there’s also a cold reality that things may not be as fans want them to be,” Last said.

“It’s clear a sizable number of Americans are not nearly as obsessed with politics as they are with football,” said Rich Thau, president of Engagious. “C-SPAN is awesome, but a lot more people watch ESPN.”

The new Back-to-Normal Barometer also found that 76% of people believe they will not see fans in attendance at football games in 2020, and 68% of respondents said they fear college and professional football will not resume play in 2020.

The survey also found that concern over the lack of fans in the stands has grown over time — and especially since Major League Baseball began its shortened, 60-game season without fans in the stands earlier this month.

“Our research takes an unprecedented review of consumer attitudes of the past compared to today’s environment so that a vast variety of industries can make strategic business decisions to navigate the difficult terrain ahead to get back to normal,” said Ron Bonjean, Partner at ROKK Solutions.

Sports and Leisure Research Group is a market research firm specializing in the sports, travel, and leisure sectors, based in White Plains, N.Y. Engagious is a bicoastal research firm specializing in corporate and public policy message testing and message refinement. ROKK Solutions is a Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan public affairs firm specializing in strategic communications, media engagement, digital and social strategy, message amplification and crisis management.

The margin of error on the July 22, 2020 online survey of 576 Americans is +/-4.08% at the 95% confidence interval.

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