Friday, May 7, 2021
Findings from the most recent Seton Hall Sports Poll were featured by media outlets across the country and the globe.
Findings on whether the public felt comfortable with attending "full capacity events" in light of COVID-19 and specifically whether or not Americans agreed with the decision by Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers to open their season with a full capacity, were featured and syndicated through the McClatchey News network, and appeared in the Miami Herald, Idaho Statesman, Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee, San Luis Obispo Tribune, Belleville News-Democrat (Illinois), Kansas City Star, Lexington Leader (Kentucky), Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News & Observer, Durham Herald-Sun, Myrtle Beach Sun, Hilton Head Island Packet, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Centre Daily Times (State College, PA) more.
The article, "What does America think about Rangers allowing full capacity? Here's what a poll says," notes that
It's been four weeks since Major League Baseball teams returned to games with fans in the stands after a season of playing mostly before cardboard cutouts due to COVID-19.
Does it mean Americans feel comfortable attending not only baseball games, but any outdoor sport?
Not just yet, suggests a new poll conducted by The Seton Hall Sports Poll.
"The Seton Hall Sports Poll asked Americans if they would be comfortable attending a full-capacity outdoor stadium event of any type, only 37 percent said yes, a number which rose to 46 percent among sports fans and 58 percent among avid fans," a news release said on Wednesday. "The same question about attending indoor events found just 33 percent of the general public saying they would be comfortable, which increased to 43 percent among sports fans and 57 percent among avid fans."
In addition to asking about attending games, Seton Hall Sports also asked fans if they agree with the Texas Rangers opening up Globe Life Field at full capacity, a move that has been criticized by medical experts….
According to the new poll, only 35 percent of Americans agree with the Rangers' decision to allow full capacity in the 40,000-seat arena, with 46 percent in disagreement.
Darren Rovell also used these findings as the subject of a tweet to his two million followers:
The @HallSportsPoll asked Americans if they would be comfortable attending a full-capacity outdoor stadium event of any type. General Population: 37% said YES. Sports Fans: 46% said YES. Avid Fans: 58% said YES. https://twitter.com/darrenrovell/status/1387415675317145601.
These findings on the impact of the pandemic on event attendance were also the subject of a report and interview by NJ 101.5 FM (Townsquare Media) of the Seton Hall Sports Poll's methodologist, Marketing Professor Daniel Ladik.
Leagues and Social Justice?
The poll also asked questions of the public regarding the social justice initiatives of sports leagues, and players, asking specifically whether they approved of Major League Baseball pulling its All Star game out of Atlanta over new voting laws in Georgia and whether or not they would support the NFL's removal of the Super Bowl from Arizona if that state passed similar legislation.
These findings were featured in the Houston Chronicle, the Sports Business Journal and Yahoo News in two separate articles across its global platform, including the U.S., U.K. (Finance), Australia (News and Sports) and the Philippines (News).
The Houston Chronicle article (subscription required), "Poll: Majority of sports fans back MLB moving All-Star Game from Atlanta," reported that:
Major League Baseball's decision to pull the All-Star Game out of Atlanta following new voting laws passed by Georgia lawmakers has received strong support from sports fans in a new national poll.
In the Seton Hall Sports Poll results released Thursday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred's decision was supported by 49 percent of the general respondents, with 31 percent opposing it. Among those who identified as sports fans, the decision was supported by a 55-31 margin. Those identifying as avid fans supported MLB's decision 67-25.
Poll respondents identifying as non-fans supported the decision 42-31 and casual fans by a 47-35 margin. The remaining percentages fell under the "don't know/no opinion" category.
The Seton Hall Sports Poll also asked respondents if they would support the NFL moving the 2023 Super Bowl out of Arizona if the state passed similar voting laws to Georgia. The general population supported the NFL doing that by a 49-30 margin, with sports fans at 55-32 and avid fans at 64-27. The margins for non-fans favoring such an NFL action were 41-31 and casual fans by 50-35.
The polls also found respondents supporting leagues, teams and players using their influence to effect social change.
The general population supported leagues and teams using their influence to effect social change by a 48-36 margin, sports fans supported it 52-35 and avid fans 61-29. Non-fans were in favor 42-37 and casual fans 47-38.
As for players using their voice to effect change, it was supported 51-35 by the general population, 55-34 by sports fans and 65-28 by avid fans. Non-fans were in support 45-36 and casual fans by a 50-37 margin.
In Yahoo, "Poll: Half of Americans support athletes, leagues pushing for social change," the article reports that
Half of Americans support sports leagues and athletes using their influence to enact social change, according to a new poll conducted by YouGov for Seton Hall University.
Asked the question "Should sports organizations such as leagues and teams use their influence to affect social change?", 48 percent of the population responded "Yes," with 36 percent responding "No" and 16 percent offering no opinion. Almost the same percentage of self-identified casual fans agreed with the statement, while 61 percent of "avid" sports fans agreed with the statement.
In addition to reporting the poll's findings on player and player association advocacy for social justice, the article also included the findings on the potential removal of the 2023 Super Bowl from Arizon and also included the poll's findings on a potential boycott of the Winter Olympics in China, noting that a boycott of the Olympics received even more support than the "49 percent of Americans, and 64 percent of avid sports fans" that supported removal of the Super Bowl if Arizona were to pass similar voting legislation to Georgia's.
The idea of boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled for Beijing, China, over China's human rights record received even more support. Well over half of all Americans, 57 percent, supported a boycott over human rights, with 24 percent against it and 19 percent offering no opinion. That percentage in favor rose slightly, to 60 percent, when asked whether the support of multiple countries would make a difference.
In a later article, the author of the Yahoo article above cited the poll's findings again describing the advice of former coach and current Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) to athletes to refrain from speaking out on politics as being at least somewhat out of step with the times. The article (as it appeared in Yahoo Singapore, is entitled "Tuberville's be-seen-but-not-heard advice for athletes is from a bygone era."
The author therein notes,
It would be easy to attack Tuberville personally, but he's speaking an opinion that many millions of Americans still endorse. A recent Seton Hall/YouGov poll indicates that half of Americans are fine with athletes using their voices ... but that over a third of Americans were against the idea. That's a not-insubstantial percentage of the American public, and it's likely that the percentage is even higher in a conservative-leaning sport like football.
The attraction of a just-play-ball mindset is obvious: the athletes are seen but not heard. They're there for the entertainment of the fans in the stands, who can enjoy the ballgame without having to think about the thorny issues of racial and social justice that athletes have raised over the last year.
It's fine for fans to want sports to be about, you know, sports. One doesn't often have to hear about the political views of, say, one's bartender or pilot, after all. But there's a difference between not wanting to hear social views, and actively pushing to silence those views. That hinge point, between wanting peace and enforcing silence, is what will define the scope of the fan-athlete relationship going forward.
In the Sports Business Journal (subscription required), the headline (under "Sports in Society) reads, "Poll: Americans split on athletes, leagues pushing for social change," and notes that
Among avid sports fans, 65% said that athletes should use their standing in favor of social change, compared to 51% of general population. A new poll conducted by YouGov for Seton Hall revealed that "half of Americans support sports leagues and athletes using their influence...."
Full releases from the most recent poll may be found at http://blogs.shu.edu/sportspoll/.