Answer: Football is America’s favorite sport.
As we careen towards July, the warmer weather has many Americans opting to beat the heat and stay inside to watch sports in the comfort of their air-conditioned homes. In the opinion of many Americans, baseball and the American Summer are synonymous. Dubbed “America’s Pastime”, it is the favorite sport of a sizeable portion of the country. “If you base your argument on history and culture, baseball is America’s favorite sport,” says sport.one. But does that argument hold up statistically? A recent poll by Gallup says no – not by a longshot.
The survey conducted by Gallup, which asked 1,049 adults in December of 2017 which professional sport they preferred, revealed some very interesting data. 37% of Americans said that football is their favorite sport, while baseball garnered only 9% of the vote, the lowest percentage since Gallup started the survey in 1937. Back then, baseball was the favorite by a landslide. Its peak was in 1948 when 39% of Americans were partial to baseball. This reign lasted until 1972 when it was surpassed by football, which hasn’t given up the top spot since.
Sports Show compiled analysis this April regarding America’s favorite sport, based on a metric of most popular, most watched, most revenue generating, and most played sports in America. Numbers one through five are football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and soccer, respectively. An average of 67,604 fans turn up to NFL stadiums to watch their team play on Sundays. Sports Show says this is more than any sports league worldwide.
However, recent controversy in the NFL has resulted in a slight fall from fans’ good graces. Football’s pinnacle of popularity occurred in 2006 and 2007, when 43% of Americans called it their favorite sport. Reasons for this decline include the following: there are major safety concerns, specifically regarding concussions and CTE; a multitude of domestic violence cases against current and former NFL players, and the league’s lenient sanctions against the players that would theoretically prevent future, similar cases; and league-wide protests against racial injustices that include kneeling during the National Anthem. These factors have all contributed to this slight dip in football’s popularity.
But football fans, fear not. As sport.one points out, “the Super Bowl’s halftime performance is more anticipated than the NBA Finals.” It appears that football will remain the favorite sport in America for years to come.