Nearly 3 of 4 Americans Say They Won’t Attend Games Without Coronavirus Vaccine Developed

South Orange NJ, April 9, 2020  — While sports commissioners, governments and medical experts debate when to reopen sports leagues, a huge majority of Americans including a substantial majority of sports fans are prepared to stay home until the development of a vaccine for Coronavirus.

Asked what they would do if the leagues resumed play before the development of a vaccine, 72 percent of Americans said they would not attend games, with 12 percent saying they would if social distancing could be maintained.  Only 13 percent said they would feel safe attending as in the past.  Among sports fans the number drops to a still significant 61 percent.

Medical experts have repeatedly put the timeline for approval of a vaccine into 2021, although they have not ruled out an existing drug proving effective for treatment this year.  Seventy-four percent of Americans thought it was possible, likely or very likely that sports would be cancelled for the rest of this year.

If the Policy of Social Distancing Continues into the Fall, Should NFL Start Up?
And if social distancing continues into the fall, 70 percent thinks the NFL should not start up to insure the players safety, with 20 percent saying the league should resume but allow the players to choose not to play, and only six percent saying the league should start up as planned.

These were the results of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week among 762 Americans across the country on both landlines and cellphones.  The Poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percent.

“This virus has the attention and respect of the nation,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business.  “Those who identify as sports fans, at all levels of interest, line up closely with the general population in regard to their own safety and that of the players.”

Play Games without Fans Present?
As for the possibility of playing games with no fans present, a similar number – 76 percent – said they would watch broadcasts of the games with the same interest as before, with only 16 percent saying they would be less interested and 7 percent saying they would be more interested.

Did Leagues Shut Down at the Right Time?
Make no mistake – sports fans miss their sports…but also respect the devastating power of the virus.  Seventy-six percent said sports shut down at the right time, with 16 percent saying not quickly enough and six percent saying too quickly.

Eighty-four percent felt the IOC acted appropriately in postponing this year’s Olympic Games to 2021, with only 14 percent saying they acted too quickly.

Should Teams Pay Stadium Workers?
And asked whether teams have an obligation to pay daily arena and stadium workers for time missed because of the virus, 59 percent said yes and 33 percent said no.


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 the third most diverse national Catholic university in the nation.

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.

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About the poll:

The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. This poll was conducted by telephone April 6-8 with 762 respondents, 348 from a landline frame and 414 from a cell frame by Braun Research Incorporated with remote live telephone interviewers being monitored by an all at-home staff. .

. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones.  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.Recently chosen for inclusion in iPoll by Cornell’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, its findings have been published everywhere from USA Today, ESPN, The New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and Reuters to Fox News and most points in between.

Media: Media: Marty Appel,;
Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall, 908-447-3034

The results:

  1. Do you think the US professional sports leagues acted too quickly in closing down their schedules, not quickly enough or acted at the right time?


1 – Too quickly                           6
2 – Not quickly enough             16
3 – Right time                              76
4 – Don’t know/No opinion                    2


  1. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was originally scheduled to take place from late July to early August of this year but has been rescheduled to the same time period in 2021. Do you think the International Olympic Committee acted too quickly moving an event scheduled so far in advance?


1 – Yes                                                  14

2 – No                                        84

3 – Don’t know/No opinion      3


  1. If some form of social distancing is continuing in the fall do you think the NFL should:

1 – Start up as planned                                                                     6

2 – Start up but allow players to choose not to play                   20
3 – Not start up to ensure players safety                                      70
4 – Don’t know/No opinion                                                                4

  1. It has been suggested that sports be cancelled through the end of 2020. How likely do you think this is a possibility?


1 – Very likely                                      12

2 – Likely                                              16

3 – Possible                                           46

4 – Won’t happen                                 24

5 – Don’t know/No opinion                    2

  1. If sports were to resume play later this year but before a vaccine for coronavirus is developed would you feel safe attending a game, only if there was restricted attendance and social distancing or not at all?

1 – Safe                                     13

2 – Safe but only if social distancing      12

3 – Not at all                                         72

4 – Don’t know/No opinion                    3

  1. Do you think professional teams have an obligation to pay daily arena/stadium workers for time missed because of the coronavirus?

1 – Yes                                                  59

2 – No                                                   33

3 – Don’t know/No opinion                    7

  1. For the remainder of 2020, do you think sports should eventually be played with fans present, played with restricted attendance practicing social distancing, played but with no fans present or sports should not be played at all

1 – Fans present                                    12

2 – Restricted attendance                      23

3 – No fans present                               21

4 – Not at all                                         40

5 – Don’t know/No opinion                    5


  1. If sports are played without fans will you be more interested, less interested or have the same interest in watching a broadcast of the game?

1 – More interested                                 7

2 – Less interested                                 16

3 – Same interest                                   76

4 – Don’t know/No opinion                    2


  1. How much would you say you miss having the opportunity to watch live sports, very much, some, not much or not at all?

1 – Very much                                      29

2 – Some                                               24

3 – Not at all                                         18

4 – Don’t know/No opinion                  29

  1. How closely would you say you follow sports, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?

1 – Very closely                                    17

2 – Closely                                            37

3 – Not closely                                      26

4 – Not at all                                         20


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