Tag Archives: TV Ratings

61% Agree with Athletes’ Right to Speak Out for Social Justice; But More than a Third Say It Hinders Desire To Watch Games, Ruins Sports as ‘Escape’

South Orange NJ, November 23, 2020  — While 61 percent of Americans say that athletes have a right to free speech and it is their decision to speak out for social justice, 35 percent call sports their “escape” and don’t want to see any commentary other than sports. In addition, 36 percent say that athletes speaking out hinders their desire to watch games.

These were the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted November 13-16 among 1,506 American adults, geographically spread across the country. The Poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent.

On the question of athletes exercising free speech and making their own decision to speak out, only 15 percent disagreed compared to the 61 percent who agreed that players held that right.  Among self-described sports fans, those who agreed that players held that right to speech was 69 percent.

On the question of sports being an escape and not wanting to see any commentary on subjects other than sports, almost an equal number agreed and disagreed. While 36 percent said they saw sports as an escape and did not want to hear commentary from athletes outside of sports, 37 percent felt otherwise. Among sports fans, however, 46 percent said they saw sports as an escape and would rather not see commentary outside of sports, while 34 percent felt otherwise.

 

Does Social Justice Commentary from Athletes Hinder the Desire To Watch Sports?

Does social justice commentary from athletes hinder the desire to watch sports?  For 35 percent the answer was yes, but 39 percent said that athletes speaking out on social justice issues is not a hindrance.  The rest – about a quarter of the population in each case – neither agreed nor disagreed.

“It marks a fine line for many sports fans, probably across the political spectrum,” said Professor Charles Grantham, Director of the Center for Sport Management within the Stillman School of Business, which oversees the Seton Hall Sports Poll.  “What many Americans seem not to understand is that despite their fame, our black athletes, male and female, have their own histories and experiences with police, mourn the losses of those who look like them and feel the potential dangers of forthcoming encounters.  They are committed to raising the consciousness of America with regard to systemic racism and social injustice.”

“Leagues really need to note the fact, however, that about a third of the population is uncomfortable with these displays of free speech,” said Stillman Professor of Marketing and Poll Methodologist Daniel Ladik.  “That’s a minority, but it’s sizeable if you are trying to sell a product. A number of the leagues have already taken some action but need to continue to explain to consumers why this speech is important.”

Why Are TV Ratings Down?  

Television ratings for both the NFL regular season and the NBA finals are and were down this year, and respondents were asked their opinion why. Twenty-eight percent said they thought that fans are turned off by the social justice efforts by athletes and their leagues, and 24 percent said it was because attention was focused on the November elections.  Twelve percent said it was because too many sports were available while 35 percent had no opinion or did not know.

As To the Strange NBA Season…

The shortened NBA season, with the playoffs staged before no fans and in a bubble, elicited fan reaction in the poll.  Asked if the finals were just as entertaining as in previous years, only 22 percent agreed, with 21 percent disagreeing.  Fifty-seven percent neither agreed nor disagreed, a large number perhaps reflected by the decline in viewership this year. Asked if the finals were dull with no fans in attendance, 25 percent agreed and 15 percent disagreed. Again, a large percentage of the respondents (59 percent) neither agreed nor disagreed.  Asked if it was difficult to follow the NBA Finals because there were too many other sports on TV, only 15 percent agreed while 21 percent disagreed and 62 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.

Only 26% Think NFL Will Make it To Super Bowl

Asked if the they thought it doubtful the NFL will make it through the playoffs and complete the Super Bowl in this year of Coronavirus, 26 percent agreed. Among self-described sports fans the number of those who doubt that the NFL will successfully complete the season moved up to 29 percent; however, an equal number of sports fans (29 percent) felt the opposite and did not doubt the season will successfully conclude. The remainder neither agreed nor disagreed.

“It is a different kind of year,” said Grantham, the former executive director of the the National Basketball Players Association. “That which seemed certain in years past now is the subject of doubt. The Super Bowl is the most watched sporting and media event in the United States. The fact that 29 percent of sports fans think the Super Bowl itself may be in question is astounding.”

Breakdowns Below.

#     #     #

ABOUT THE POLL

The Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted regularly since 2006, is performed by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. This poll was conducted online by YouGov Plc. using a national representative sample weighted according to gender, age, ethnicity, education, income and geography, based on U.S. Census Bureau figures. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S residents. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been chosen for inclusion in iPoll by Cornell’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and its findings have been published everywhere from USA Today, ESPN, The New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and Reuters to CNBC, NPR, Yahoo Finance, Fox News and many points in between.

Media:  Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall University
michael.ricciardelli@shu.edu, 908-447-3034; Marty Appel, AppelPR@gmail.com

The Results:  

November 2020 SHSP Tables

Q1 The National Basketball Association (NBA) recently completed its playoffs with the Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Miami Heat for the title. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Please select one option on each row.

  • The NBA Finals were just as entertaining as previous years
N=1,506

 

General

Population

Sports

Fan

Non-Fan Avid

Fan

Avg

Fan

Casual

Fan

Not a

Fan

No

Opinion

Agree 22% 31% 6% 54% 32% 21% 5% 9%
Neither agree nor disagree 57% 44% 81% 21% 41% 57% 82% 72%
Disagree 21% 25% 13% 25% 27% 22% 13% 19%

 

  • The NBA Finals were dull because there were no fans in attendance
N=1,506

 

General

Population

Sports

Fan

Non-Fan Avid

Fan

Avg

Fan

Casual

Fan

Not a

Fan

No

Opinion

Agree 26% 34% 8% 49% 35% 27% 8% 12%
Neither agree nor disagree 59% 47% 82% 31% 45% 57% 83% 70%
Disagree 15% 19% 10% 20% 20% 16% 9% 18%

 

  • It was difficult to follow the NBA Finals because there are too many other sports on TV
N=1,506

 

General

Population

Sports

Fan

Non-Fan Avid

Fan

Avg

Fan

Casual

Fan

Not a

Fan

No

Opinion

Agree 16% 24% 3% 43% 22% 16% 3% 6%
Neither agree nor disagree 62% 49% 86% 23% 49% 61% 87% 69%
Disagree 22% 27% 11% 34% 29% 23% 10% 25%

 

Q2 During the 2020 sports season, both the NFL’s live TV content and the NBA’s live TV finals had lower ratings compared to last year (i.e., during the 2019 sports season). Which one of the following statements do you think best describes the main reason for the overall drop in ratings?

 

N=1,506

 

General

Population

Sports

Fan

Non-Fan Avid

Fan

Avg

Fan

Casual

Fan

Not a

Fan

No

Opinion

TV ratings are down because there are too many sports available 12% 16% 5% 40% 13% 9% 5% 5%
TV ratings are down because people are paying attention to the November elections 25% 28% 18% 27% 30% 27% 17% 19%
TV ratings are down because fans are turned off by the social justice efforts by athletics and the leagues 28% 32% 21% 21% 35% 33% 22% 12%
Don’t know/no opinion 35% 24% 56% 12% 22% 31% 56% 64%

 

Q3 In recent years, professional athletes and the leagues they play in have taken a strong stand supporting social justice causes. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Please select one option on each row.

  • Sports are my “escape” and I don’t want to see any commentary other than sports
N=1,506

 

General

Population

Sports

Fan

Non-Fan Avid

Fan

Avg

Fan

Casual

Fan

Not a

Fan

No

Opinion

Agree 36% 46% 17% 62% 49% 35% 17% 23%
Neither agree nor disagree 27% 20% 39% 20% 20% 22% 38% 56%
Disagree 37% 34% 44% 18% 31% 43% 45% 21%

 

  • Hearing an athlete speak out about social justice hinders my desire to watch sports
N=1,506

 

General

Population

Sports

Fan

Non-Fan Avid

Fan

Avg

Fan

Casual

Fan

Not a

Fan

No

Opinion

Agree 35% 40% 25% 42% 39% 40% 25% 30%
Neither agree nor disagree 27% 20% 39% 20% 21% 19% 38% 48%
Disagree 38% 40% 36% 38% 40% 41% 37% 22%

 

  • Athletes have free speech and it is their decision speak out
N=1,506

 

General

Population

Sports

Fan

Non-Fan Avid

Fan

Avg

Fan

Casual

Fan

Not a

Fan

No

Opinion

Agree 61% 69% 44% 75% 71% 63% 48% 22%
Neither agree nor disagree 24% 18% 35% 17% 17% 20% 33% 48%
Disagree 15% 13% 21% 8% 12% 17% 19% 30%

 

Q4 Since the start of the NFL season, multiple players have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), leading to NFL games being postponed during the season. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Please select one option on each row.

  • The shuffling of the NFL schedule takes away the integrity of the season
N=1,506

 

General

Population

Sports

Fan

Non-Fan Avid

Fan

Avg

Fan

Casual

Fan

Not a

Fan

No

Opinion

Agree 26% 33% 11% 39% 33% 29% 10% 23%
Neither agree nor disagree 47% 36% 70% 27% 34% 42% 70% 61%
Disagree 27% 31% 19% 34% 33% 29% 20% 16%

 

 

  • It is not a “big deal” if a game is rescheduled
N=1,506

 

General

Population

Sports

Fan

Non-Fan Avid

Fan

Avg

Fan

Casual

Fan

Not a

Fan

No

Opinion

Agree 48% 56% 32% 65% 56% 53% 32% 25%
Neither agree nor disagree 38% 28% 57% 24% 26% 33% 57% 61%
Disagree 14% 16% 11% 11% 18% 14% 11% 14%

 

 

  • It is doubtful that the NFL will make it through the playoffs and complete the Super Bowl
N=1,506

 

General

Population

Sports

Fan

Non-Fan Avid

Fan

Avg

Fan

Casual

Fan

Not a

Fan

No

Opinion

Agree 26% 29% 18% 40% 28% 28% 18% 11%
Neither agree nor disagree 52% 42% 72% 28% 41% 49% 72% 70%
Disagree 22% 29% 10% 32% 31% 23% 10% 19%

The “agree” percentage in the release is based on combining those who strongly or somewhat agree.

November 2020 SHSP

  1. Which, if any, of the following statements best describes your interest in sports?

 

  1. I am an avid sports fan (i.e., I plan everything I do around sporting events) (10%)
  2. I am an average sports fan (i.e., I enjoy sports and I watch sports when I can) (31)
  3. I am a casual sports fan (i.e., if the game is part of a social event, I’ll watch) (24)
  4. I am not a sports fan (33)
  5. Don’t know/no opinion (2) 

 

  1. The National Basketball Association (NBA) recently completed its playoffs with the Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Miami Heat for the title. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Please select one option on each row.

The NBA Finals were just as entertaining as previous years

  1. Strongly agree (10%)
  2. Somewhat agree (12)
  3. Neither agree nor disagree (57)
  4. Somewhat disagree (8)
  5. Strongly disagree (13)

The NBA Finals were dull because there were no fans in attendance

  1. Strongly agree (11%)
  2. Somewhat agree (14)
  3. Neither agree nor disagree (59)
  4. Somewhat disagree (7)
  5. Strongly disagree (8)

It was difficult to follow the NBA Finals because there are too many other sports on TV

  1. Strongly agree (6%)
  2. Somewhat agree (9)
  3. Neither agree nor disagree (62)
  4. Somewhat disagree (9)
  5. Strongly disagree (12)

 

  1. During the 2020 sports season, both the NFL’s live TV content and the NBA’s live TV finals had lower ratings compared to last year (i.e., during the 2019 sports season). Which one of the following statements do you think best describes the main reason for the overall drop in ratings?

 

  1. TV ratings are down because there are too many sports available (12%)
  2. TV ratings are down because people are paying attention to the November elections (24)
  3. TV ratings are down because fans are turned off by the social justice efforts by athletics and the leagues (28)
  4. Don’t know/no opinion (35)

 

 

  1. In recent years, professional athletes and the leagues they play in have taken a strong stand supporting social justice causes. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Please select one option on each row.

 

Sports are my “escape” and I don’t want to see any commentary other than sports

  1. Strongly agree (23%)
  2. Somewhat agree (12)
  3. Neither agree nor disagree (27)
  4. Somewhat disagree (9)
  5. Strongly disagree (28)

 

Hearing an athlete speak out about social justice hinders my desire to watch sports

  1. Strongly agree (24%)
  2. Somewhat agree (11)
  3. Neither agree nor disagree (27)
  4. Somewhat disagree (9)
  5. Strongly disagree (29)

Athletes have free speech and it is their decision speak out

  1. Strongly agree (43%)
  2. Somewhat agree (18)
  3. Neither agree nor disagree (24)
  4. Somewhat disagree (5)
  5. Strongly disagree (10)
  6. Since the start of the NFL season, multiple players have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), leading to NFL games being postponed during the season. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Please select one option on each row.

The shuffling of the NFL schedule takes away the integrity of the season

  1. Strongly agree (11%)
  2. Somewhat agree (14)
  3. Neither agree nor disagree (47)
  4. Somewhat disagree (14)
  5. Strongly disagree (13)

It is not a “big deal” if a game is rescheduled

  1. Strongly agree (20%)
  2. Somewhat agree (27)
  3. Neither agree nor disagree (38)
  4. Somewhat disagree (8)
  5. Strongly disagree (6)

It is doubtful that the NFL will make it through the playoffs and complete the Super Bowl

  1. Strongly agree (10%)
  2. Somewhat agree (16)
  3. Neither agree nor disagree (52)
  4. Somewhat disagree (14)
  5. Strongly disagree (8)

 

ABOUT SETON HALL UNIVERSITY

One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall has been showing the world what great minds can do since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall embraces students of all religions and prepares them to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success. Since 2009, it has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth and an impressive 110-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have received more than 30 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors, including Boren Awards, Pickering Fellowships, Udall Scholarships and a Rhodes Scholarship. The University is also proud to be among the most diverse national Catholic universities in the country.

During the past five years, the University has invested more than $165 million in new campus buildings and renovations. And in 2015, Seton Hall launched a School of Medicine as well as a College of Communication and the Arts. The University’s beautiful main campus in suburban South Orange, N.J. is only 14 miles from New York City — offering students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. Seton Hall’s nationally recognized School of Law is located prominently in downtown Newark. The University’s Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Clifton and Nutley, N.J. opened in the summer of 2018. The IHS campus houses the University’s College of Nursing, School of Health and Medical Sciences and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.

For more information, visit www.shu.edu.

 

 

 

Nearly 40 Percent of NCAA Tournament Viewers Will Watch Online; Twenty-two Percent of Those Who Watch Will Do so at Work

South Orange NJ, March 21, 2019 – As Americans increasingly turn to online devices to follow news and sports, a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week reveals that 38 percent of those who will be watching the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament will do so either entirely or partially online.

The poll was asked of 606 adult Americans on both landlines and cellphones, with a margin of error of +/- 4.1%.

Of the men’s tournament, 38 percent of all Americans said they would be watching at least part of the coverage. Split by gender, 49 percent of men said they would be watching the tournament, and 29 percent of women said they would be watching.

Twenty-two percent of all respondents who will be watching also said they will watch the tournament while at work; among males that number rises to 29 percent.
Continue reading

NFL TV Ratings Down; Fans Cite a Host of Factors, Led by National Anthem Protests

Seven Possible Reasons for Flagging NFL Ratings Resonate with the Public

South Orange, NJ, October 27, 2016 — Viewership for NFL games is down approximately 12% this season, sending league and club officials in search of reasons. A Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week asked people to identify factors accounting for the drop.

Each question was asked separately, allowing for a yes, no or don’t know response.   Thus, respondents could weigh in on each of the seven possibilities as a contributing factor without identifying one single factor.

The leading factor – the one receiving the most “yesses” – was players not standing for the national anthem. However, the seven factors all evoked a large number of yes responses, so that even the least chosen, at 33%, represents a lot of fans.

56% of respondents cited players not standing for the anthem, with 50% citing the distraction of the presidential campaign and 47% the controversy over the handling of domestic violence cases involving players.

On the question of domestic violence, men and women responded equally; 47% of men cited that as a possible reason, 46% of women said yes to that possibility.

Other factors included games on too many days, over-saturating the market (44%), increased interest in post-season baseball (39%), the ongoing controversy over head injuries (33%) and a decline in quality of play on the field (33%).

A total of 841 adults across the US (on landlines and cellphones) participated in the poll, which has a margin of error of +/- 3.4%. The poll was conducted October 24-26.

“Only a third cited quality of play and head injuries,” said Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “Perhaps the league can take some solace in that, although a third is still a lot of people. But it is somewhat remarkable that the impact of the national anthem protest seems to hold, given that the action occurs pre-game and isn’t even televised.”

Rick Gentile will be interviewed by Seth Everett for a podcast on the poll’s findings.

 

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone October 24-26 among 841 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

Media: Media: Marty Appel Public Relations, AppelPR@gmail.com
or Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall University,
michael.ricciardelli@shu.edu

ABOUT SETON HALL UNIVERSITY

One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership — developing students in mind, heart and spirit — since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S.News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. Its attractive main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles by train, bus or car from New York City, offering a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The university’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark.

For more information, visit www.shu.edu.