America’s sports fandom Thriving or dying?
That sports are a big deal for Americans is certainly not an understatement. A quick look at the number of professional leagues across the country is enough to understand its enormity. Not forgetting the myriad tournaments and leagues at pre-teen and junior levels, which may not be at par but are nevertheless popular. In the U.S., sports are more than just an event; they are an important part of American culture. So is being a sports fan.
But like all things traditional, spectator sports in the U.S. are also witnessing an undercurrent. Even though sports are still extremely popular, they are no longer the only pre-occupation for fans. Youngsters, in particular, are eager to try new experiences and follow different hobbies and passions. To understand the sports mania as well as the changing trends, Piplsay (powered by Market Cube) reached out to sports fans* across the country and here’s what we found:
It’s nearly impossible to walk across the country and not stumble across a bunch of football fans, now and then. Such is the love for this legendary game, that it continues to remain the most preferred spectator sport even today. However, despite popular belief, American Football is slowly losing its popularity both in terms of youth participation and live audiences. Soccer, on the other hand, seems to be gathering quite a fan following. Going by the growing interest, it won’t be long before this sport challenges the dominance of the Big Four Leagues.
Interestingly, the perception of women’s sports in the U.S. is changing for the better, as revealed by the Piplsay survey. Over 50% of Americans seem unfazed by the gender of the players, which means women’s sports are taken seriously now. This is a huge step up, especially since women’s sports traditionally suffer from poor ratings and sponsorships as compared to men’s sports.
Yet, in a telling sign of dipping sports viewership in the country, a whopping 54% of Americans agree to not watching their favorite sport regularly. Nor do they throng to the stadiums to watch the action up close. In fact, a good 31% of respondents have never attended a live game. When they do watch sports, most Americans prefer doing it from the comforts of their couch, mostly with a beer in hand and friends in tow.
Increasingly, social media and streaming platforms are blamed for declining sports viewership. But millennials also seem put off by the over-commercialization of sports. But despite the falling fandom, one thing is certain: no event comes close to garnering the excitement and passion as much as sports do. And that’s one fact which no team wants to beat.
*Based on 27,500 online responses