World Series vs. NFL? Strong Gain for Baseball Shown in Preference

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.


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.

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone September 28-30 among 929 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 3.5 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.

The results:

Would you rather watch a regular season NFL game or a World Series game?

  1. NFL 48
  2. World Series 36
  3. Don’t know 16

This year the World Series will end in November. Do you think the World Series now takes place too late in the year?

  1. Yes 45
  2. No 37
  3. Don’t know 18

Which do you think will be more competitive, the World Series between the Mets and Royals or the political party presidential debates?

  1. World Series 41
  2. Debate 49
  3. Don’t know 10

When a hitter flips his bat or makes a demonstrative gesture after hitting a home run or when a pitcher makes a gesture after a strike out do you think it’s good for baseball, bad for baseball or it doesn’t matter?

  1. Good for baseball 17
  2. Bad for baseball 15
  3. Doesn’t matter 59
  4. Don’t know 9

When making a purchase are you more likely or less likely to purchase the product of a sport sponsor or does it make no difference?

  1. More likely 9
  2. Less likely 6
  3. No difference 85

When you watch a sporting event do you pay attention to the sponsor signs in the stadium?

  1. Yes 44
  2. No 50
  3. Don’t know 6

How do you usually watch sporting events – on television, streamed on-line or attending in person?

  1. TV 83
  2. Streamed 5
  3. In person 7
  4. Other 1
  5. None 4

How closely do you follow sports, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?

  1. Very closely 15
  2. Closely 36
  3. Not closely 30
  4. Not at all 15

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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.

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