Close Close

Play Ball! America Misses Pro Sports


Baseball tops list as sport missed most during Covid shutdown

West Long Branch, NJ – The coronavirus pandemic has left many Americans pining for the return of live sporting events according to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll. One-third miss being able to watch sports a lot and one-quarter miss it a little. Major League Baseball tops the list of professional leagues that Americans most want to see back on the field.

A majority (56%) of Americans describe themselves as professional sports fans and nearly 6 in 10 say they miss being able to watch live sporting events – 32% miss them a lot and 26% a little. Another 42% say they do not miss pro sports at all.

Younger adults aged 18 to 34 (54%) are more likely than those aged 35 to 54 (34%) and those aged 55 or older (39%) to say they do not miss sports at all.  More men (37%) than women (27%), though, say they are missing live pro sports a lot. Americans of color are more likely than white Americans to say they miss pro sporting events a lot (38% to 29%) and are less likely to say they do not miss them at all (33% to 47%). Interestingly, 17% of those who do not consider themselves to be a sports fan still say they miss being able to watch live sporting events.

“Sports are woven into the fabric of America. The suspension of pro sports did not just rob fans of their favorite pastimes, but it also disrupted the rhythm of life for the entire country,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

When asked which sports they miss the most that are usually in season now, 25% of the American public names baseball and 19% says basketball. Another 14% name football – even though the NFL season doesn’t start for a few more months. Other sports mentioned include hockey (5%), soccer (4%), golf (3%), tennis (2%), motor racing (2%), boxing, UFC and MMA (2%), and the Olympics (2%).

Among those who miss live pro sports a lot, half (49%) say they are really hankering for the return of baseball, 4 in 10 (39%) want some hoops action and about one-quarter (23%) can’t wait for the first kickoff.  Among those who miss sports a little, 36% name baseball, 24% name basketball, and 24% name football as a live sport they miss the most.

Similar numbers of men and women say the sports they miss most are baseball (25% men and 26% women) and football (13% men and 14% women), but men (23%) are more likely than women (15%) to miss basketball. White Americans (27%) are slightly more likely than those who are Latino, black, Asian, or of another race (22%) to be missing baseball, but people of color are much more likely than whites to be missing basketball (32% to 11%), and somewhat more likely to be missing football (20% to 9%).

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from May 28 to June 1, 2020 with 807 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.


(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-3 & 11-18 previously released.]

[Q4-10 held for future release.]

19. Would you say you are a fan of professional sports or not?

Yes, a fan56%
(VOL) Yes, depends on the sport2%
No, not a fan42%
(VOL) Don’t know0%

20. How much do you miss being able to watch live sporting events – a lot, a little, or not at all?

A lot32%
A little 26%
Not at all42%

20A. Of the sports that usually play their seasons now, which do you miss the most? [LIST WAS NOT READ] [Note: Results add to more than 100% because multiple responses were accepted]

Motor racing2%
Boxing, UFC, MMA2%
The Olympics2%
No answer2%
Do not miss watching sports (from Q20)42%

[Q21-27 held for future release.]

[Q28-39, B1-B10 & Q40-57 previously released.]


The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from May 28 to June 1, 2020 with a national random sample of 807 adults age 18 and older. This includes 279 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 528 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

27% Republican
41% Independent
31% Democrat
49% Male
51% Female
30% 18-34
33% 35-54
36% 55+
64% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
69% No degree
31% 4 year degree

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic group