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Infographic: The Return to Sports

  • Rob Patterson

For the 56% of consumers who reported missing sports a lot during the pandemic, the return of the NBA, NHL, and MLB has been a welcome change. Fans don’t just miss their favorite teams; they also miss the traditions and the escape from day-to-day life. Below, we take a look at how consumers filled their time while sports were postponed, their feelings on the return to action, and their sentiment on returning to stadiums when fans are allowed.

 

The Return to Sports

 

Here are four things you need to know about the return to sports:

 

Americans Missed their Sports

While not everyone is a diehard fan, sporting events mean more to Americans than just the games themselves. Here’s what they missed most about sports:

  • 31% Watching/Spending Time With Friends/Family
  • 15% Escape from Other Things
  • 14% Suspense and Thrill

Did you know? 30% of sports fans said they would watch whatever sport or league comes back first, regardless of whether they were fans before or not.

 

Pandemic Sports Substitutes

With most of the major sports postponed in the United States, Americans found alternatives. Though 59% turned to non-sports shows and movies, 28% found new sports to follow:

  • 40% Esports
  • 34% International Soccer
  • 32% MMA
  • 31% Golf
  • 31% International Baseball

 

Timing is of the Essence

When asked whether now is the right time for the return of live sports, consumers were divided.

  • 39% believe the return is too soon
  • 34% say it’s just the right time
  • 11% say it’s too late

Return to Stadium Status

Players returning to action is one thing, but fans in the stadium is another. Here’s where consumers stand in terms of when they’ll return to sporting events post-COVID-19.

  • 24% 4-6 Months
  • 20% Not Until There’s a Cure
  • 19% 0-3 Months
  • 16% 7-9 Months
  • 12% 10-12 Months
  • 10% Over a Year

While a fair amount of fans are raring to go, others have legitimate concerns:

  • 59% Inability to Maintain Social Distance
  • 55% Other Fans Not Following Protocol (e.g. masks)
  • 51% Lack of Sanitation Products

With that being said, 78% of respondents are comfortable sacrificing some of the standard parts of the stadium experience (e.g. tailgating, concessions) if it means they can return sooner.