Football Continues to be America's Favorite Sport; the Gap With Baseball Narrows Slightly this Year

   Football Continues to be America's Favorite Sport; the Gap With Baseball
                          Narrows Slightly this Year

College football and auto racing remain third and fourth

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2013

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Football versus baseball. It's an
argument for bars and living rooms all across the nation. But, when it comes
to America's favorite sport, football wins. Over one-third of adults who
follow at least one sport (34%) say professional football is their favorite
sport while just 16% say baseball is their favorite. The gap between the two
sports has narrowedfrom 2011 to 2012–in 201136% said pro football was
their favorite while 13% said baseball was their favorite sport.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO)

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,176 adults surveyed
online between December 12 and 18, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Looking at how other sports fared, just over one in ten sports fans (11%) say
college football is their favorite sport while 8% say it is auto racing, 7%
say men's professional basketball, and 5% say hockey. All other sports are
favorites for 3% or less of sports fans.

There are some fluctuations in favorites over time. Since this question was
first asked in 1985, professional football has gone up 10 points from 24% of
sports fans saying it was their favorite sport then to 34% saying so now.
Baseball, on the other hand, has gone down 7 points, from 23% in 1985 to 16%
today. Auto racing and hockey have both gone up 3 points while men's tennis,
men's college basketball and horse racing have all gone down 3 points

Who likes football and baseball... and who really doesn't
When it comes to the top sports, different groups are more likely to cite them
as favorites. African Americans (48%), those aged 40-49 years (41%), and
Westerners (40%) are more likely to say professional football is their
favorite sport, while those aged 18-24 (23%), college graduates (27%), and
Southerners (30%) are less likely to do so. When it comes to baseball,
Midwesterners (20%), those aged 50-64 (19%), and Conservatives (19%) are more
likely to cite it as their favorite sport; those aged 25-29 (8%), households
with income under $35,000 (11%) and Southerners (12%) are least likely to say
baseball is their favorite.

So What?
The past year has been a bruising one for more than one professional sports
league. NFL was rocked by the one-two punch of March's bounty scandal and fan
outcry over the replacement referees in September. Meanwhile, professional
hockey is only now poised to return– three months later than normal due to a
player lockout. However, both seem to be holding their own in terms of fan
interest, with neither suffering pronounced year over year drops – an
indication that fan passion has thus far persevered.

That said, there are other options for sports lovers. College football
continues to be a powerhouse, and with a hotly anticipated four-team playoff
system replacing the current BCS system in 2014, fan ardor could well see an
uptick. If the professional leagues aren't careful about restoring or
maintaining their images, college sports could be the beneficiaries.

TABLE 1

FAVORITE SPORT

"If you had to choose, which ONE of these sports would you say is your
favorite?"
Base: All adults who follow one or more sport
                              1985   1989   1992   1993   1994  1997 1998 2002
                              %      %      %      %      %     %    %    %
Pro football                  24     26     28     24     24    28   26   27
Baseball                      23     19     21     18     17    17   18   14
College football              10     6      7      8      7     10   9    9
Auto racing                   5      4      5      6      5     5    7    10
Men's pro basketball          6      7      8      12     11    13   13   11
Hockey                        2      3      3      3      5     4    3    3
Men's soccer                  3      2      2      1      3     3    4    3
Men's college basketball      6      10     8      8      8     6    4    4
Men's golf                    3      4      4      6      5     6    4    4
Track & field                 2      2      1      1      2     2    3    1
Bowling                       3      5      2      2      1     1    2    2
Men's tennis                  5      4      4      4      3     3    4    1
Boxing                        NA     NA     NA     NA     NA    NA   NA   NA
Horse racing                  4      3      3      2      2     2    2    1
Women's tennis                NA     NA     NA     NA     NA    NA   NA   3
Swimming                      NA     NA     NA     NA     NA    NA   NA   NA
Women's pro basketball        NA     NA     NA     NA     NA    NA   *    1
Women's soccer                NA     NA     NA     NA     NA    NA   NA   NA
Women's college basketball    NA     NA     NA     NA     NA    NA   1    1
Women's golf                  NA     NA     NA     NA     NA    NA   NA   NA
Not sure                      *      1      4      1      2     2    1    3
Pro football's lead over      1      7      7      6      7     11   8    13
baseball
Note 1: NA = Not asked in that year. Men and women's sports were not always
distinguished

Note 2: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Note 3: "*" indicates less than 0.5%



TABLE 1 (continued)

FAVORITE SPORT

"If you had to choose, which ONE of these sports would you say is your
favorite?"
Base: All adults who follow one or more sport
                                                                     CHANGE
                   2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
                                                                     1985–2012
                   %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %
Pro football       29   30   33   29   30   31   35   31   36   34   10
Baseball           13   15   14   14   15   16   16   17   13   16   -7
College football   9    11   13   13   12   12   12   12   13   11   1
Auto racing        9    7    11   9    10   8    9    7    8    8    3
Men's pro          10   7    4    7    4    6    5    6    5    7    1
basketball
Men's college      6    6    5    5    4    5    3    4    5    3    -3
basketball
Hockey             3    4    5    4    5    5    4    5    5    5    3
Men's tennis       2    1    1    2    1    1    1    2    2    2    -3
Boxing             NA   2    2    1    1    2    2    1    2    1    NA
Horse racing       2    1    2    1    2    1    2    1    2    1    -3
Swimming           NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   2    1    1    2    2    NA
Men's golf         5    4    4    4    4    4    4    2    2    2    -1
Track & field      3    1    *    2    1    1    1    2    1    1    -1
Men's soccer       3    3    2    2    2    3    2    4    1    2    -1
Bowling            1    1    1    1    2    1    1    2    1    1    -2
Women's tennis     2    2    1    1    *    1    1    1    1    1    NA
Women's pro        1    *    *    *    *    *    *    -    *    *    NA
basketball
Women's soccer     NA   1    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    NA
Women's college    *    1    *    1    1    *    *    -    *    1    NA
basketball
Women's golf       1    *    *    1    *    *    *    *    *    *    NA
Not sure           1    2    2    3    2    1    2    3    1    2    NA
Pro football's     16   15   19   15   15   15   19   14   23   18   17
lead over baseball
Note 1: NA = Not asked in that year. Men and women's sports were not always
distinguished

Note 2: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Note 3: "*" indicates less than 0.5%



TABLE 2

DEMOGRAPHIC VARIATIONS IN FAVORITE SPORTS

"If you had to choose, which ONE of these sports would you say is your
favorite?"
Base: All adults who follow more than one sport
Sport           All Adults Highest                     Lowest
                %                                   %                       %
                           African Americans        48 Those aged 18-24     23
Pro football    34         Those aged 40-49         41 College grads        27
                           Westerners               40 Southerners          30
                           Midwesterners            20 Those aged 25-29     8
Baseball        16         Those aged 50-64         19 Income $34.9K or     11
                                                       less
                           Conservatives            19 Southerners          12
College                    Those aged 18-24         23 Easterners           3
Football        11         Post grads               18 African Americans    4
                           Southerners              18 Hispanics            5
                           Those living in rural    16 African Americans    *
Auto Racing     8          areas
                           Those aged 65+           12 Those aged 30-39     1
                           Education of HS or less  11 Post grads           2

Methodology
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between
December 12 to 18, 2012 among 2,176 adults (aged 18 and over), 1,476 of whom
say they follow at least one 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.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling,
are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to
quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error
associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and
response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris
Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All
that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different
probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates.
These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this
ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to
participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to
reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based
on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no
estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or
promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J42319
Q955, 960

The Harris Poll® #3, January 17, 2013
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive
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