January 19, 2006

Professional Football Continues to be the Nationís Favorite Sport: Pro Basketball is slipping and Hockey is holding steady even after a year long strike. Nascar in the top 4? Opinions should vary on this subject.

posted by dbt302 to general at 03:09 PM - 55 comments

The NHL players were not on strike, they were locked out by the owners. Just a little pet peeve of mine. You are more than welcome to ignore it. I am honestly shocked that baseball is still more popular than college football (according thos this survey anyway). I thought that baseball was, more or less, in a tailspin. This is good news.

posted by NoMich at 03:17 PM on January 19, 2006

I never trust polls. I know I was never asked about my favorite sport(s), but at least they gave the disclaimer. Interesting though: Auto racing (which includes NASCAR) is most popular among those with a high school education or less (19%) and Baby Boomers (15%), while it fares worst among those with a post graduate degree (2%) and Generation X (4%). Is that why they say Non Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks

posted by njsk8r20 at 03:27 PM on January 19, 2006

Baseball's in pretty serious decline, at least in that poll. My biggest shock is seeing men's pro basketball lower than hockey. It dropped from 13 percent around the time of Jordan's second Bulls three-peat and retirement to 4 percent today. Maybe it wasn't the best idea in the world for the NBA to invest so heavily in marketing a single star player.

posted by rcade at 03:29 PM on January 19, 2006

That poll is goofy. MLB set all time attendance records in 2005 with nearly 75 million in attendance for 2005 a 2.6 % increase over a record 2004. MLB Baseball has been on an attendance rise since 1996. I have my favorites and MLB is tops on that list. I'd list the others but I'm not looking to get ripped on that today. Suffice to say I don't fit the NASCAR demographic. I'd rather suffer through watching American Idol with my wife ....

posted by skydivedad at 03:45 PM on January 19, 2006

I have to wonder if the timing of the poll, early to mid December, had any effect on the result. This is the hottest part of the NFL season. While hockey is being played, and showed an increase, baseball has been out of focus for a while. The Harris Folks tend to "Poll" everything so I hope they accounted for this factor.

posted by Termite at 03:58 PM on January 19, 2006

As a NASCAR fan (with a postgraduate degree, no less), let me just say, you should all thank God that rednecks watch NASCAR exclusively, and not football, baseball, basketball, hockey, or any other sport, because then some of you might not be able to feel quite so haughty when you look down on those of us who enjoy the sport. Those who casually insult NASCAR and its fans are no better than the trolls who pop into hockey and/or soccer threads and drop the "who cares about this crap?" bombs. Those folks get excoriated (and rightly so), but it's just good clean fun to ridicule and insult the fan base of one of the fastest growing spectator sports in America.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:59 PM on January 19, 2006

I'm excited that the NHL is climbing. I'm saddened that it will probably mean that the people who made those absolutely terrible "Inside the Warrior" commercials will probably get some of the credit for bringing it back to where it is now. I'm confused that Men's College Basketball is ranked so high. I had no idea that people paid any attention to it when it wasn't March.

posted by Samsonov14 at 04:04 PM on January 19, 2006

I don't look down on the NASCAR because it's a "redneck" sport. As T_B_H proves NASCAR has some alright fans. The reason I look down on it is because I think (like football) it's fucking boring. Hockey more popular than pro basketball, albeit not by much, is pretty impressive.

posted by HATER 187 at 04:07 PM on January 19, 2006

I participated in this poll. I'm not sure how far they cast the net, but I trust that they tried, and that if anyone's reading this in Talladega, Alabama, I suspect they'll be having the exact opposite impression of the stats that, say, I do. I understand the rise in the popularity of college sports, and the fact that 5% of the American public lists hockey as the main sport they follow is pretty good. I want to believe that the NHL is more popular than the NBA, but the fact that it's that close doesn't surprise me.

posted by chicobangs at 04:15 PM on January 19, 2006

Being a nascar fan also with a college education I have to say you guys are ate up. This is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation, and you boys should get on the bandwagon. a weekend at the track is one hell of a good time. As for the drivers and teams they are well educated, and excellent role models for our children. I can't remember the last time my favorite driver climbed into the stands to punch out some fans after they threw drinks at him, or when he was investigated for using steroids to keep his game up.

posted by tomthumb at 04:22 PM on January 19, 2006

Take away office pools and super bowl parties and I suspect the NFL would lose some of it's luster. Meanwhile, for me it remains MLB, NFL, PGA & NHL in that order.

posted by STLCardinalfan at 04:26 PM on January 19, 2006

Anybody have the attendance numbers for these sports?

posted by STLCardinalfan at 04:40 PM on January 19, 2006

I think basketball is more popular than it appears because it is HUGE with the kids. I think football will remain the most popular sport because it is so accessible with a very defined season that is relatively short with games mainly on the weekend. It is easy to be a casual fan of football. Please let's not ruin this thread with all the politics.

posted by bperk at 04:42 PM on January 19, 2006

As for the drivers and teams they are well educated, and excellent role models for our children. I can't remember the last time my favorite driver climbed into the stands to punch out some fans after they threw drinks at him, or when he was investigated for using steroids to keep his game up. yeah, i guess they go the civilized route of ramming machines going 200+ mph into each as retaliation for, of all atrocities, accidentally bumping one another in a car race. and what better role model is there than someone wearing a jumpsuit emblazoned with jack daniel's, budweiser, jim bean, coors light, or miller light? Enjoy the branding while your brain is still soft, kiddies! as i always say: race car driving is an amazing mental feat, but i'm more impressed and intrigued by the physical feats of true athletes. as far as attendance numbers go, i don't think they should be the end-all, speak-all barometer either. what's probably most telling and what probably fits most closely to these poll results are television ratings. that's what matters to the organizations in the big picture anyway, because without ratings, no tv contracts, no big money to make your sport grow. just ask the bcs bowls about it.

posted by ninjavshippo at 04:46 PM on January 19, 2006

My picks Actually are The NHL,Nascar,NFL in that order.

posted by tomthumb at 04:50 PM on January 19, 2006

All I could find quickly regarding attendance. (kenn.com) MLB - 72,969,000 NBA - 21,303,000 NHL - 20,336,000 NFL - 17,304,000

posted by STLCardinalfan at 04:56 PM on January 19, 2006

good stuff STL. the other thing that of course skews those attendance stats is number of games. averages per team, per game might be more relevant. i would do it myself, but i was a liberal arts major. :(

posted by ninjavshippo at 04:59 PM on January 19, 2006

I couldn't find anything on NCAA or NASCAR or horse racing for that matter. I suspect those numbers are huge though.

posted by STLCardinalfan at 05:03 PM on January 19, 2006

here's my per-game, per-team breakdown for each sport using STLs numbers for attendance. i take no responsibility for the accuracy of said math. 8266 NHL 8659 NBA 15014 MLB 33796 NFL looks like nfl still leads the way edit: STL, i was j/k of course. i wasn't seriously making a blanket "you suck!" statement.

posted by ninjavshippo at 05:06 PM on January 19, 2006

edit: STL, i was j/k of course. i wasn't seriously making a blanket "you suck!" statement. Good nuff.

posted by STLCardinalfan at 05:16 PM on January 19, 2006

Those who casually insult NASCAR and its fans are no better than the trolls .... T_B_H TomThumb I have absolutely no obligation to like watching NASCAR or anything else for that matter. Hey, you enjoy it great, I don't. Here's a sport that markets and is proud of it's it boot legger roots and who's championship series until recently was named after a pack of cigarettes. What do they expect. Everytime this comes up around here we hear the "It's the fastest growing sport in the country" kinda of the same argument the soccer crowd makes "Hey it's the most popular sport in the world" implying anyone who doesn't get on board is guilty of something. I like what I like, you like what you like, as far as the casual insults towards Nascar, well they encourage it with their marketing approach. It's an easy target. Just because I don't watch it and tell you so doesn't mean, I'm insulting their fans. What is insulting about Nascar to me is their choice of marketing ploys. Oh, having tobacco and alcohol logo's plastered all over the vechicles sure makes them good role models for my children. I choose not to watch Nascar, this neither makes me a high brow snob nor unpatriotic. I find it incredibly boring. I do enjoy a wide spectrum of sport, Nascar's not on my list. MLB, NFL, Hockey, Soccer and a ton of others.

posted by skydivedad at 05:22 PM on January 19, 2006

Not to ruin your 1000 words on the subject, but I think TBH, that drollin' moonshine sipper, was addressing the troll, not thou.

posted by yerfatma at 05:26 PM on January 19, 2006

Using ninjavshippo's combined numbers it looks like all of the sports are played in buildings that are half full. Angel Stadium holds about 44,000, but I know many ballparks are larger. In kind, The Arrowhead Pond, Mighty Ducks home rink holds approx. 17,000. All this does is reinforce ninjavashippo's earlier comment that the popularity is TV ratings driven. I think we knew this but these number lend some real credibility. btw, I am becoming a NASCAR Fan next season when Cowboy Greats, Aikman and Staubach join the sport with a car sponsored by Texas Intruments. I've been looking for a hook and this is it.

posted by Termite at 05:29 PM on January 19, 2006

if tv truly is the x-factor, i don't think that bodes well for hockey. i've been to at least a dozen kings games at staples and had a great time every time, even though most were losses. conversely, hockey on tv does tend to bore me a little whereas i enjoy football more on the tv. just my personal preferences that seem to coincide with the numbers we've found so far.

posted by ninjavshippo at 05:40 PM on January 19, 2006

I agree with TBH but i personally don't find excitement in people driving around in a circle, just my opinion. As for your attendence number, college football would win just because the shear size of the stadiums.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:40 PM on January 19, 2006

probably right YYM, but you're only thinking of the major sellouts they get at places like ann arbor... what about all the lower tier D1 schools? do you count D1A or D2/3? i think when you average it all out, it may not be as much of a blowout as you think.

posted by ninjavshippo at 05:42 PM on January 19, 2006

Nascar has a lot of drawing power for almost everyone in America. Yes, they have beer and liquor companies that sponsor cars. Last time I was in any stadium, there is a big sign some where advertising the beer that has a contract with that team. There are also sponsors from Tide to KFC and everything in between that are not alcohol related. Nascar sells out at almost every track they go to. Daytona holds almost 200,000 people. Charlotte holds almost as many. Bristol which is only a 1/2 mile track holds 160,000. Nascar is as corporate as any sport in America. I think baseball took a hint from Nascar by selling advertising space on their outfield fences. Nascar may never be # 1 but everyone has to admit that they've thought about driving a car as fast as it could go. And for those who don't think Nascar isn't physical needs to roll up the windows, and turn the heat up as hot as it can go during a hot summers day. Those cars don't drive like a street car. They take a lot of work to drive. I did the Petty Driving Experience in Atlanta. After I ran my 8 laps (149.876 mph) my shoulders were killing me. Incredibly stiff cars. It is a workout. Sorry for being so lengthy.

posted by dbt302 at 05:45 PM on January 19, 2006

i'll admit i thought about driving fast, took the old celica to about 100 once, said "whoo!" then went back to a fellow-commuter conscious speed. i think racing is thrill-a-minute insofar as it's thrilling for about a minute. our preferences vary, of course. the fact that you, i'm presuming mostly a non-athlete civilian, are able to do something pretty close to what those nascar drivers can do at the Petty Driving Experience sort of proves my point. there's no way i could perform anywhere near the level kobe, lebron, carpenter, clemens, pujols, vick or brady do. that makes the latter infinitely more interesting to me.

posted by ninjavshippo at 05:52 PM on January 19, 2006

I live 45 minutes from Daytona and enjoy NASCAR when I take the time to watch a race, but I get bored with it because they race so often -- every weekend and a race before it on Saturday. I began to enjoy the sport because the cameras in the cars and around the track get such great footage. I'm also a fan of how they sell every square inch of their bodies -- human and auto -- and have to namedrop their sponsors every time they win. That poll is goofy. MLB set all time attendance records in 2005 with nearly 75 million in attendance for 2005 a 2.6 % increase over a record 2004. MLB Baseball has been on an attendance rise since 1996. All that means is baseball seems to be growing in popularity relative to itself. It could still be losing ground to other sports in terms of favorite-sport ranking.

posted by rcade at 06:09 PM on January 19, 2006

nicely put skydivedad. i football is the only sport that everyone can universally agree on. It has the short season and friendly schedule that makes it convenient to just about anybody because most people dont have to work when its on. It has the physical intense competition and hot cheerleaders that guys like. baseballs cool, but some people get turned off that they play every single day, so they probably only tune in or go when there is another reason too, like the excitement of a new season in april, or to see pennant chases. basketball's cool too, but i cant see the nba appealing to everybody. i think the ron artest brawl and the controversy over the dress code back that argument up. everything else i think is regional. college football i think is definitely not a northeastern sport. it is virtually nonexistent here in real life. syracuse and army both suck, after them there is practically nothing. college basketball is big, but i think when its not march that its bigger where there is a team and among basketball fans, but not everybody in general. hockey is big in the northern states, but what about in warmer climates?? i think the same goes for nascar. its huge in the south, its big in the small towns in the north, but outside of pr gigs, ive never seen anything about it cities around here. btw, i prefer baseball, hockey, basketball (nba or college), then football

posted by nyfan at 06:21 PM on January 19, 2006

attendance records and tv ratings are good indicators, but they can both be skewed. some people go to games just for something to do, but might not necessarily like the sport. ditto for tv ratings. everyone watches the super bowl, but it might not be because they like football....its a cultural institution. the same goes for movies, everyone goes to the movies, but not everyones like roger ebert....its just something to do for some people. i guess there is no fool proof gauge to find out what really is the most popular sport...but these results sound pretty accurate. i wonder how accurate merchandise sales would be. people wont just buy a jersey or hat or pennant or stuffed mascot for the hell of it, you know? i wonder if anybody's thought of that as an indicator.

posted by nyfan at 06:29 PM on January 19, 2006

I think NASCAR has some great number's also.They lead the pack for attendance,sales and merchandise if i'm not mistaken.I can only watch the last 3 minutes or my neck will snap from going in a circle 400 times.

posted by irishmic2004@sbcglobal.net at 06:29 PM on January 19, 2006

Football bores me Basketball sucks Baseball is all right NASCAR don't need trucks

posted by mr_crash_davis at 06:32 PM on January 19, 2006

I participated in this poll. I'm not sure how far they cast the net, but I trust that they tried, and that if anyone's reading this in Talladega, Alabama, I suspect they'll be having the exact opposite impression of the stats that, say, I do. posted by chicobangs at 4:15 PM CST on January 19 I live 20 minutes from the Talladega track and twice a year I spend my weekend there working as an usher. Being wheelchair bound (paraplegic) I get to work on top of the pressbox where the spoters work. Im not about to try to convince anyone that this is the sport for them, it just might not be. But untill you have actually been to a track and experienced the overall atmospher of the sights, sounds, fans you have no idea what its like. I have been to a few hockey games and to me they are rather boring, just my perspective. If you love it, hell more power to ya its just not for me. I must say I to am a little tired of the whole red-neck sport comments I read in these threads. I dont go into hockey threads and make comments like "hey I went to the fights last night and a hockey game broke out. That said I find college football most exciting followed by auto raceing (nascar/irl, etc...) PLH

posted by Folkways at 06:41 PM on January 19, 2006

In order of preference, I will still watch the following (on tv) if my team is NOT playing. Pro Football College Basketball Major League Baseball (playoffs only) If my team or driver IS competing then the order goes thus: Pro Football (Steelers) NASCAR (Jeff Gordon) Major League Bassball (Cardinals) College Basketball (Illinois)

posted by Steeler_Fan at 06:54 PM on January 19, 2006

I actually like NASCAR, and I understand the hard sell for sports if you don't grow up with them and don't dig 'em. If you're not into hockey, that's fine. 95% of the country is apparently with you. I understand that. It would be awesome if everyone loved what I love, but it's not necessary. I agree, though, that the the redneck comments are out of line. (I just pulled Talladega out of my butt as an example. You work there, Folkways? Feel like writing a column about it?)

posted by chicobangs at 07:00 PM on January 19, 2006

chico, I did not think you were putting NASCAR/its fans down. Just used your thoughts to start a comment. That said, english/writing composition were not my strong point in college. My degree is in Recreation Administration. If I wrote anything at all Id have to send it to L_B_B to edit, rewrite and overhaul. On the other hand the inside info on drivers, car set-up and the such I get from the spoters can be fascinating. PLH

posted by Folkways at 07:34 PM on January 19, 2006

It's a automatic sell chico.I think the Nascar people could care less about trying to convince people to watch.The one's that do are true to the sport,passed down from generations.They are actually pretty quiet, that way they control everything including revenue.It is the largest gathering of white people in the world besides european soccer.The joke was "it's the kkk having a large meeting without the hoods".

posted by irishmic2004@sbcglobal.net at 07:34 PM on January 19, 2006

If I wrote anything at all Id have to send it to L_B_B to edit, rewrite and overhaul. That's chico's job, not mine.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:07 PM on January 19, 2006

Pro football is more exciting than other sports, with college basketball/football a near second and third. The NFL championship comes down to one game for it all, therefore it is called the "SUPER BOWL." You lose, you go home. There is no seven game series. You don't get to have a bad game, lose then get another shot a night or two later to come back. And I am sorry, any activity where you can use a car as your main mode of movement is not an athletic event.

posted by EERFAN88 at 09:43 PM on January 19, 2006

I have to say im one of the few that likes hockey first, and nfl second... I also have a degree and have attended a few nascar races... (nothing like the partying at Talladega!!) But Hockey in any form is my favorite.... Also, Im surprised noone has mentioned the effect of fantasy sports in these numbers... Especially if they are solely based in tv ratings... And with fantasy football being the most popular (and best) that has to be helping them... And, one last thing... The attendence numbers mentioned above are a bit skewed, the per game numbers should all be doubled. If 30 teams play hockey on a given day, then there are 15 games played, not 30. Therefore, the attendance should look like this: mlb 30028 Total games played/season 2430 162 games per team nba 17319 Total games played/season 1230 82 games per team nhl 16533 Total games played/season 1230 82 games per team nfl 67593 Total games played/season 256 16 games per team My appoliges to ninja, who did say they weren't responsible for the math...

posted by myshtigo at 09:46 PM on January 19, 2006

of course, duh. thanks for the correction. <:-) i am so smart! s-m-r-t!

posted by ninjavshippo at 09:50 PM on January 19, 2006

well us americans like the cheerleader and the contact sport what can i say plus its extra specai that on an off day of work to have a sport thta is only once a week

posted by Barry-from-H-town at 11:03 PM on January 19, 2006

Polls are great if I was running for office. Until then, I will just watch sports and "play" poker with friends.

posted by Sailor at 12:31 AM on January 20, 2006

im pretty sure basketball is a much faster growing sport worldide compared to football and baseball anybody got any numbers on that hmmmmm ?

posted by humans1 at 01:08 AM on January 20, 2006

I think it's safe to say that everyone has their favorite(s) and their own reasons why they like whichever sport the best. I'm not surprised that football is the nation's most popular sport for several reasons, but it's early, I'm still trying to recover from watching the Kings-Lakers game on TNT last night, and the coffee isn't done yet. For the record, I love football, Nascar (even with my degree), and baseball. I used to be such a hockey homer until the lockout, and then I just haven't been able to get back into it. Basketball is growing on me, slowly.

posted by Rino23 at 05:42 AM on January 20, 2006

Those attendance records are not right. Remember, basbeall teams play 162 games, basketball 82, hockey-??, Nascar has like what 20 -30 races a year? Football you get 16 games. Imagine every team playing 162 games a year, football would dominate the attendance. Basketball isn't what is was, but its gettin better. King James will save that sport. Hockey is not my thing, but still a good sport. I just dont get entertained by 5 goals in 3 hours..zzzzz... College and Pro Football will continue to dominate America. Yes i know NASCAR is the fastest growing sport, but Football is an established product. Every sport has its downtime, and NASCARs will come.

posted by phaded at 07:33 AM on January 20, 2006

Football you get 16 games. I think this a reason for its huge popularity. Enjoy while it you can because its gone before you know it. If they played more games attendence numbers would probably drop.

posted by HATER 187 at 08:02 AM on January 20, 2006

Re: Methodology -- "The Harris Pollģ was conducted online within the United States..." How was this online survey conducted? Randomly by email? Or heavily promoted on a blog and voters came to them? Just curious...

posted by the red terror at 08:40 AM on January 20, 2006

NASCAR!!! Round and round and round we go. That's fun?????????????

posted by pokchop at 09:55 AM on January 20, 2006

I cant say, Ive never attempted it...But it does appear that many folks like it..for example, I heard that there were near 200,000 people in attendance for that Daytona 500 I happened to be at.. Either theres hells of rednecks, or the sport is growing way beyond its traditional customer base.

posted by pizzpoor at 10:29 AM on January 20, 2006

I wish they would change the definition of a sport. If you dont HAVE to work out, it shouldnt be called a sport. Mainly speaking about golf on that one but Nascar too, but def not to the same degree. The NBA, NFL and NCAA's CBB and CFB will always dominate because everyone grows up with some sort of ties to them, especially if your parents went to college. College towns follow their boys well into in their pro careers. Meanwhile the college towns themselves whip themselves into a frenzy for their own games. You cant go just anywhere and find the passion of a whole city behind Nascar or Hockey. But baseball, football, and basketball seem to do it rather well, wherever they are at.

posted by Drallig9399 at 01:00 PM on January 20, 2006

Those who casually insult NASCAR and its fans are no better than the trolls who pop into hockey and/or soccer threads and drop the "who cares about this crap?" bombs. I'll admit, The_Black_Hand, that was pretty low of me. It was just a joke. I apologize if I offended anyone. I promise to think before I type from now on. I don't think attendance figures really show anything when you consider the disproportionality (is that a word?) of how many people you can fit into each venue. Perhaps a percantage of seats actually filled (not tickets issued) but then when you have horse racing (infield parties of the triple crown are like mini Marti Gras) and NASCAR where people can gather in the infield it would be hard to tell. I admit I've watched a few NASCAR races last season. Like most casual veiwers I just like to see the crashes. Like most sports it those personalities you like (Tony Stewart), and those you love to hate (Jeff Gordon).

posted by njsk8r20 at 01:37 PM on January 20, 2006

njsk8r20, I appreciate your sentiment. It's far too easy for people to think that every single member of NASCAR nation is ignorant, inbred, drunk, Republican, undereducated, and the stereotypes just go on and on and on. skydivedad, I wasn't trying to convert you, and I won't ever try to. You want to watch NASCAR or not, knock yourself out. Just don't casually insult those of us who do like we're second class citizens. Now, go back to the Cheez Doodles and leave me alone!

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:11 PM on January 20, 2006

1. NFL 2. MLB 3. NHL 4. NBA Very interesting. The poll had too many options, but I like the results. I like that hockey has survived this strike. I also like that MLB has been able to retain 2nd place. I cheer at the NBA dropping. There are two ways to look at the NBA and their fall from grace, although this is a humpty dumpty fall, not just a little roll. The thing is that the NBA has 30 teams ans only 5 teams are actually competitive right now and can win it all: SA, LAL, DET, MIA, and IND. People have gotten tired if this. A first step for the NBA is that the Conference Finals not feature four of these teams. Another step is that none of these teams win it all, and that one or none are present at the Finals. There is asecond approach. The NBA has become the thug league that encourages stuff like drug use and teen pregnancy, and they are now paying their dues. MLB really lost the chance to be #1 after the risis of 2002, with the possible strike. Another CBA in 2007 will not help the situation.

posted by Joe88 at 04:32 PM on January 21, 2006

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