LAST UPDATE: FEB. 17, 2021

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, which doesn’t account for other 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.


Nearly 1 in 4 Americans Feel Comfortable Attending a Sporting Event: With a horrific winter of COVID-19 outbreaks seemingly abating, the share of Americans who said they’d feel comfortable attending a sporting event amid the coronavirus pandemic is the highest it’s been since Morning Consult started keeping track in June 2020. Over the past eight months, that figure has dipped as low as 14 percent among U.S. adults.

1 in 3 Adults Willing to Go to Outdoor, Limited-Capacity Events: Based on what we know about COVID-19, the virus is most likely to be transmitted in crowded indoor spaces. So it makes sense that the share of the public willing to attend outdoor and limited-capacity events is larger than for indoor and full-capacity ones. As of Feb. 20, 1 in 3 Americans said they would feel at least somewhat comfortable attending a limited-capacity event, compared to 20 percent for a full-capacity event. Similarly, 1 in 3 respondents said they’d be open to go to an outdoor sporting event, while 22 percent said they’d feel comfortable attending an indoor game.

Younger Adults Are More Willing to Take Risks Amid Pandemic: The share of millennials comfortable attending sporting events has been consistently greater than the share of Gen Xers or baby boomers willing to take that chance amid the pandemic. It will be interesting to see if this changes as more older Americans receive vaccinations, but for now, only 13 percent of baby boomers said they would be “very” or “somewhat” comfortable, compared with 33 percent of millennials and 24 percent of Gen Xers.

Nearly 1 in 4 of U.S. Adults Says They'd Be Comfortable Attending a Sporting Event Right Now
The share of respondents who said they feel comfortable going to a sporting event right now:
Weekly surveys are conducted among roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

Millennials More Than Twice As Likely As Boomers to Feel Comfortable Attending a Sporting Event
The share of respondents who said they feel comfortable going to a sporting event right now:
Weekly surveys are conducted among roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

1 in 3 Americans Willing to Attend a Limited-Capacity Sporting Events
U.S. adults were asked whether they would be comfortable doing the following right now:
Survey conducted Feb. 18-20, 2021, among 2,200 U.S. adults with a margin of error of +/-2%.

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.


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