JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A national survey found that there is a divide between sports fans on the question of attending sporting events as the pandemic continues.
The research firm Question Pro conducted a survey of 1,000 sports fans about the timing and manner of sports returning from the coronavirus restrictions. Here’s what they found.
First, there is a wide gap between those who want sports to return immediately, and those who believe that sporting events should not be held until there are no new cases. As of now, there is no expectation that that day will ever come. Twenty-four percent of the respondents said sports should resume immediately. At the other end of the spectrum, 12 percent said no sporting events should be held until there are no new cases of COVID-19.
As for attending events, while 24 percent believe that sports should resume immediately, only 13 percent said that they would attend immediately. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said that they would attend an event this summer. The remaining 62 percent said that they would wait until at least September before attending a sporting event, including 13 percent who wouldn’t attend until a vaccine was available.
A number of plans have been discussed to hold events with less than full capacity—some plans call for 25 percent of the seats to be made available to fans, others call for 50 percent, the study found that nearly half of the respondents would be more likely to attend a game if stadium capacity was limited, even without a vaccine available. An additional 22 percent say they would be just as likely as usual to go to a game. This shows that a large number of fans want to attend games, but they want some kind of adjustments made in the name of safety. Thirty-one percent say they would be less likely to attend a game if stadium capacity were limited. If you take the 13 percent out who wouldn’t attend until a vaccine is available, then there are 18 percent of fans who would be less likely to go to a game with capacities limited for other reasons.
The research backs up what a lot of us have been seeing on social media. A decided difference in the extreme views on either side of the pandemic. But it also shows that sports fans nearly all want to get back to having sports in their lives—especially when it can be done safely.