Author Archives: Marty Appel

Seton Hall Sports Poll Reveals Nation Sides with Obama’s Caution on Sons Playing Football vs. Trump’s Feeling that ‘Head on Tackles are Incredible to Watch’

Fans Who Say they Watch Less Football Cite National Anthem Protest as Principal Reason

South Orange, NJ, November 17, 2016 — This week’s Seton Hall Sports Poll, asked Americans how they felt about the concussion/head injury issue in football.

People were asked if they most agreed with President Obama’s feelings about having to think twice about letting a son play football, or President-elect Trump’s statement that head-on-tackles in the NFL are incredible to watch and the league has gone too soft on the issue of head injuries. 59% agreed with the Obama position while only 23% agreed with the Trump statement.

By gender, women agreed with Obama over Trump by 66%-17%, and men agreed with Obama by 52%-29%.

“That is a decisive margin, and belies the embrace the nation’s voters show for Trump’s generally tough stances,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute.

The results came from the poll conducted this week among 913 landline and cellphone adult users across the US. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.3%.

Meanwhile, the poll asked respondents if they were watching less football, and if so, asked for reasons. 25% cited the protests during the national anthem, 10% said the match-ups aren’t as good, 10% cited too many commercial interruptions, 8% said “too many games on TV,” and 3% said “more interested in election.” 44% indicated either another choice (unnamed) or no opinion.

As for Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco quarterback who triggered the national anthem protests, 50% expressed disapproval over his deciding not to vote in the presidential election, with only 14% showing approval. Only 30% of African-Americans disapproved compared to 58% of white respondents.

By a 2-1 margin (61% to 30%), respondents citied the Trump election victory as more surprising than the Chicago Cubs world championship. The Cubs, of course, had not won in 108 years – but no American president had ever gained the presidency from a business and non-political (or wartime) background.

The poll also asked who would be a better role model, 29% said college athletes, 21% said pro athletes, and 9% said politicians. It is worth noting that 42% said “none” or “don’t know” without those selections being offered by pollsters.



There was good news for Major League Baseball amongst the findings – 19% the country said that the Cubs victory made them more interested in following baseball.

“For any sports league to have a single event that might turn that many people into more avid fans is a remarkable achievement,” said Gentile.  “At first glance, one might say, ‘well, it’s only 19%’, but in raw numbers – a fifth of the population is a tremendous number for MLB.”

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



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

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone November 14-16 among 913 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,;
Seton Hall Associate Director of Media Relations,
Office Phone: 973-378-9845

Cell Phone: 862-520-9639


The results


  1. Whom do you think make better role models, politicians, professional athletes or collegiate athletes?
  2. Politicians 9%
  3. Pro athletes 21
  4. College athletes 29
  5. None 35
  6. Don’t know 7


  1. Which event would you say surprised you the most, the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series or Donald Trump winning the presidential election?
  2. Cubs 30
  3. Trump 61
  4. Neither 5
  5. Don’t know 3


  1. Has the Cubs’ victory in the World Series made you more interested in following baseball?
  2. Yes 19
  3. No 77
  4. Don’t know 4


  1. President Obama has said if he had a son he would have to think twice about letting him play football because of potential head injuries. President-elect Trump has said head-on tackles in the NFL are incredible to watch and the league has gone too soft on the issue of head injuries. Which position do you most agree with?
  2. Obama 59
  3. Trump 23
  4. Neither 10
  5. Don’t know 8


  1. Why have you watched fewer NFL games? Please pick your main reason from the following.
  2. Match-ups aren’t as good 10
  3. Too many games on TV 8
  4. More interested in the election 3
  5. Too many commercial interruptions 10
  6. The protests during the national anthem 25
  7. Other 37
  8. Don’t know  7


  1. Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who sparked the national anthem protests, refused to vote in the recent Presidential Election, also in protest. Do you approve, disapprove or have no opinion about this decision?
  2. Approve 14
  3. Disapprove 50
  4. No Opinion 36







Public Divided on Whether Fantasy Sports Commercials Should Run During Televised Games; Governor Christie’s ‘Really?’ Comment on Debate May Have Rung True

South Orange, NJ, October 29, 2015 — Despite ongoing investigations by the Justice Department and the FBI into whether daily sports fantasy games are a form of gambling, the American public is divided on whether commercials for those sites should be appearing in televised sports events.

A Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week (Oct. 26-28) among 820 random adults across the country by landline and cellphone, found that 41% felt they should be able to advertise and 39% felt they should not. (20% said they did not know.)

The poll has a margin of error of 3.5%, making the result a statistical dead heat.

“The ads from DraftKings and FanDuel are ubiquitous,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “They are definitely a new and impactful part of the sports landscape. It happened, seemingly, overnight. But there is certainly no hard push-back by viewers about running these ads.

“It seems to harken what {N.J.} Governor {Chris} Christie said in the debate last night about playing fantasy sports as an issue – ‘really?’”

Only 4% of respondents said they participated in a baseball fantasy game.

The Poll also asked if sponsors who promote products (such as fantasy sports), in an environment where its athletes are forbidden to participate (college athletes may not gamble), should not be allowed to advertise on any college sports. By 59% to 34%, respondents said they should not. A similar margin – 56%-36% – felt that beer advertising should not appear on college sports telecasts.   (It currently does). The Poll also noted that the NCAA has said the ads will not run during their college basketball tournaments, and 47% felt that was a good decision, versus only 30% saying it was a bad decision. (23% did not know).

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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.

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‘Deflategate’ Equals Deflated Popularity for those Involved

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.”

Fantasy Sports Games Viewed as Gambling, not Game of Skill by Wide Margin in Seton Hall Sports Poll

Waiver to Advertise and Promote in Sports Telecasts Was Based on Argument That It Is Not Gambling

This is the year that American sports fans have become accustomed to seeing advertising for fantasy sports games (involving the selection of players), while viewing live sports. While sports long embraced a “No Betting” concept with fans, the operators of such companies as DraftKings and FanDuel persuaded regulators that their games were games of skill, not gambling per se.

But the American people are not buying that argument. According to a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week, 52% of Americans believe them to be a form of gambling, with only 31% believing them to be games of skill. The margin remains the same among categories of respondents that should know the difference: those that have gambled before, participated in fantasy sports and even those that paid money to participate in fantasy sports, with all categories saying it is a form of gambling by a range of 50-54%.

By a margin of 41% to 47% against, people are saying that these games should not be advertised during live sports coverage, though this is not as one-sided as the 29% to 59% that are against advertising gambling on the direct outcome of the games themselves.

“To see the influx of these fantasy games is a remarkable milestone for sports, which has always taken such a hard line on gambling,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “No betting signs were always prominent at ballparks. And now this.”

The Seton Hall survey found that 19% of respondents have participated in a fantasy league, a daily fantasy or both, while 13% have participated in the last 12 months. This is almost a threefold increase compared to February 2006 when 5% gave an affirmative answer in the Pew Social Trends Poll.

“This topic figures to remain an important one in the sports universe for the foreseeable future,” said Gentile.