Poll: Activism Drives Away Over 3X More Sports Fans Than it Attracts

March 31st, 2021 12:38 PM

More than three times as many people who watch sports on television say they are now watching less as say they are watching more as a result of the political and social justice messaging that has been injected into game broadcasts, a new YouGov/Yahoo News survey finds.

Viewers tuned out as social justice protests “consumed sports for much of the second half of 2020,” Yahoo! Sports reports:

“In the wake of last summer’s social justice protests, which consumed sports for much of the second half of 2020, nearly half of all Americans changed their sports viewing habits, according to a new YouGov / Yahoo News poll. As athletes and leagues embraced a new, progressive strategy aimed at amplifying messages of social justice and political advocacy, some Americans began watching more sports, but about three times as many watched less.”

According to the poll of people who watch sports on television:

  • 11% are watching more because of political and social messaging,
  • 34.5% are watching less because of the advocacy,
  • 56.3% haven’t changed their viewing habits.

Yahoo! Sports reports that television ratings have declined for all major sports, as a result of the social and political commentary:

“Of those who watch sports on TV, about 11 percent said they now watch more as a result of political and social messaging. However, 34.5 percent, more than one-third, said they are watching less. The vast majority, roughly 56.3 percent, said they watch about the same amount regardless of political or social messaging.

“Ratings across all major sports were down in 2020, the result of a range of factors including time-shifted sports calendars and the presidential election, but it’s clear from this poll that politics and social justice had some impact on the ratings decline.”

More than half (53%) of Republicans watched less sports, nearly three times the 19% of Democrats who reduced their television consumption of sports in the messaging era.

Independents are nearly four and a half times as likely to have decreased (38.6%) as increased (8.7%) the time they spend watching sports, due to the social justice and political messaging.