59% of sports fans would rather watch games from home

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
August 08, 2017, 2:00 PM GMT+0

Millennials, however, care more about the live experience than costs at the game

Most Americans know the baseball classic “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, but new data reveals that sports crowds would rather watch games from the comforts of their couch.

59% of Americans prefer to watch games on TV than be there live (32%). Millennials are least likely to feel this way, with only 46% preferring the sofa while Americans ages 35 and older are decidedly likely to stay at home (65%).

How then can box offices hope to draw people away from their couches and into the stadiums to cheer for their teams? Baseball vendors are doing something right. 30% of Americans believe that baseball is the easiest sport to see in in person. Football is currently America’s favorite sport, with over 1 in 2 people interested in it, but suffers from a lack of live game attendance from its fans. Hockey, on the other hand, does the best job of pleasing its fans with a positive satisfaction score of 89% and over 1 in 3 fans saying they’d rather be there live (39%).

When sports fans actually attend a game, 82% of them come home with a positive impression. What factors could be hindering a return to the arenas? More than half of Americans complain that the food and drinks at live games are too expensive (58%). This belief is held most strongly by Americans ages 35 and up and those making more than $80,000 a year (62%). But while concession prices rank at the top of most attendee complaints, many also say that the atmosphere at the games are fun (58%).

Millennials are the only group to rank a fun atmosphere (47%) above their complaints about food and drinks (42%). This finding could support idea that many millennials value an “experience” rather than material goods. Indeed, while older generations’ qualms were focused on food and drinks being expensive and seats being uncomfortable, millennials instead were upset that the opposing fans were rude.

If sports marketers want to reach out to the 33% of Americans that have never bought sports tickets, they might want to focus on making fans feel like they’re missing out on something special. Nearly a third of the game attendees say that they’re more impressed with players’ athletic ability in person than on TV. This is especially prevalent in fans that watch basketball, tennis, and hockey.

See the full results for this survey here.