LAST UPDATE: JAN. 12 2022

Tracking the Return to Normal: Sports

Morning Consult is tracking Americans' comfort attending sporting events in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
By: Alex Silverman

 

This tracker is part of a series from Morning Consult gauging when consumers will return to normal activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more and sign up for alerts.

After going to incredible lengths to return to play, sports properties and teams continue to face major challenges as the pandemic drags on. Chief among them is the limited ability to host fans in stadiums and arenas. Gate revenue alone has accounted for more than a quarter of the overall pie in recent non-pandemic years, excluding related items like concessions, parking and on-site sponsorship. Sports properties will need to provide fans with peace of mind about coming together in stadiums and arenas as soon as they are able to re-open their doors.

Morning Consult is tracking pent-up demand and excitement for many of the activities listed on this page. Bookmark this page for weekly updates of these figures, and read our deep dive on which industries will see a post-pandemic boom in consumer demand.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

55% of Adults Say They’re Not Comfortable Attending Events: In addition to forcing the postponement of numerous sporting events, the omicron variant of COVID-19 has had a marginal negative impact on the share of Americans willing to attend sporting events. The share of U.S. adults comfortable attending a sporting event declined by 1 percentage point to 36% during the first week of 2022, while the share of respondents uncomfortable increased by 3 percentage points to 55%. The population’s “net comfort” rating — the share comfortable attending a sporting event minus the share uncomfortable doing so — worsened from minus 15 to minus 19 points.

Comfort Among Gen Xers Down 6 Points Week Over Week: The share of millennials comfortable attending a sporting event fell by 2 points to 44% from last week. Comfort among Gen Xers fell by 6 points to 35%, while comfort among baby boomers remained flat at 27%.

Share of Sports Fans Comfortable With Indoor Events Hits 18-Week Low: The majority of NHL and NBA teams are experiencing at least some dip in attendance from their respective 2019-20 seasons, a trend likely attributable in part to lingering reluctance among a large share of the population to attend indoor events. The share of sports fans comfortable attending an indoor sporting event declined by 5 percentage points to 39%, the lowest that figure has fallen since late August. Meanwhile, the share of fans comfortable attending an outdoor event decreased by 1 point to 55%.

Share of U.S. Adults, Sports Fans Comfortable Attending a Game Right Now
The share of respondents who said they feel comfortable going to a sporting event today
Weekly surveys are conducted among a representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.

Comfort Attending Sporting Events by Generation
The share of respondents who said they feel comfortable going to a sporting event right now
Weekly surveys are conducted among a representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.

Share of Sports Fans Who Feel Safe Going to Events By Setting, Capacity
The share of sports fans who said they feel comfortable going to a sporting event right now
Weekly surveys are conducted among a representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.

tracking the return to normal

When will things return to normal and what will our new normal look like? It’s a question that business, economic and government leaders are grappling with as more and more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

To help answer this complicated question, Morning Consult is tracking how consumer attitudes are shifting across a wide range of categories, from travel to entertainment to dining, to gain greater insight into not only when consumers will be ready to return to their normal activities, but how their habits will be forever changed. We’ll be updating these pages every week with new data and analyses. Sign up for alerts below.

STAY INFORMED

Sign up to receive the latest sports comfort data

All fields are required

Morning Consult