South Orange, NJ, October 29, 2015 — The World Series, which will go head-to-head against the NFL this Sunday (if a fifth game is necessary), has shown strong growth in such a match-up in the opinion of the American public, according to a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week.
While a regular season NFL game is preferred over a World Series game by a 48%-36% margin, when Seton Hall asked the question five years ago, the NFL margin was 56%-22%. That is a shift from a 34% to 12% differential, and seems to match the ratings for Tuesday night’s Game One of the World Series, which was the highest in five years.
There were no clear differences in the percentages based on whether a baseball or a football game was being played on the day the question was asked.
“This is a strong trend for baseball,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “Despite the absence of household name stars in this year’s Kansas City-New York Mets matchup, the public is finding the games compelling.”
The Poll was conducted this week (October 26-28) among 820 random adults called on landlines and cellphones across the country. There is a margin of error of 3.5%.
Asked which they expected to be more competitive, the World Series or the political debate, 49% said the debate and 41% said the World Series. (The vast majority of respondents answered prior to the airing of the debate on CNBC, which began at 8 pm eastern time on the final day of polling).
In other findings, 45% felt the World Series takes place too late in the year (vs. 37% saying it was fine to end in November). When asked two years ago, 53% said it takes place too late, and 36% said it was okay as is.
59% said it didn’t matter if a baseball player acts out with a demonstrative gesture in a game (such as a bat flip or a pitcher’s gesture after a strikeout). 17% felt that was good for baseball and 15% said it was bad for baseball.
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BILLBOARD SPONSORS HAVE VIEWER ATTENTION
Although there are growing varieties of ways to watch sports, 83% still choose television and 7% choose “in person,” leaving only 5% who usually watch streaming video and 5% “other” or “none.” Streaming video was launched back in 2000 when Rick Gentile produced the Paralympic Games from Sydney, Australia for WeMedia, but now, 15 years later, it remains a small piece of the viewership pie.
Good news for billboard sponsors – 44% of respondents said they pay attention to sponsor signs in the stadium. Asked if they are more or less likely to purchase a product they see sponsoring sports events, only 9% said more likely and 85% said “no difference.” (Advertisers would surely dispute this finding). 6% said they would be less likely.
The aftershock of the prolonged debate over “Deflategate,” which resulted in Tom Brady’s suspension over deflated footballs being overturned in judicial proceedings, has crushed the popularity of those involved.
-Commissioner Roger Goodell, who had rebounded from a 12% favorable rating a year ago after his Ray Rice decision to 24% at the conclusion of the Super Bowl, fell back down to 14% favorable.
-Brady himself fell from 61% to 34% favorable since his winning Super Bowl performance.
-Coach Bill Belichick fell from 38% to 21% favorable in the same seven months.
Brady’s counterpart, the ever-popular Peyton Manning of Denver, remains consistently high, with a 61% favorable rating, almost double Brady’s, and right where he has been since the question was first asked in November of 2010.
“Winning a court decision is not the same as winning back the hearts of the fans,” said Gentile. “They have a long way to go.”