12/20: Cubbies’ World Series Win Takes Top 2016 Honors

December 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured, Special Events, Sports, Sports Bench

By nearly three to one, American sports fans, 56%, consider the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series win since 1908 to be the best single sports accomplishment of 2016.  The U.S. women’s gymnastics team winning consecutive Olympic team gold medals places second with 20%.  Eight percent mention the Cleveland Cavaliers bringing home the NBA title to give the city its first major championship since 1964 as the greatest accomplishment in sports this year.  Seven percent cite the Denver Broncos winning the Super Bowl in Peyton Manning’s final NFL game, and 5% think Leicester City’s first Premier League victory despite 5,000 to 1 odds takes the top spot in sports.

This Marist Poll has been conducted in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

“These results affirm the narrative that the Cubs’ championship is indeed historic in the view of American sports fans, even if other victories may have come at longer odds,” says Keith Strudler, Director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

60% of Americans say they are sports fans.  40% are not sports enthusiasts.

Click Here for Complete December 20, 2016 Marist Poll Release and Tables

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample

12/17: Deflategate, FIFA Scandal, & Mizzou Protests Vie for Top Sports Story of 2015

December 17, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Special Events, Sports, Sports Bench

Three in ten sports fans, 30%, think the “Deflategate” controversy involving Tom Brady and the New England Patriots was the most profound sports story of 2015.  The resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter after 14 FIFA executives were arrested for their involvement in a corruption scandal, 27%, and the protest by the University of Missouri’s football team to fight campus racism, resulting in the resignation of the University’s president, 27%, follow.  The growing concern over Daily Fantasy Sports wagering on websites such as Draft Kings or Fan Duels receives 9%.  But, differences of opinion exist.  Latinos point to FIFA corruption as most significant.

It was a big year for the U.S. women’s soccer team, and American sports fans took notice.  About one in three, 33%, considers the team’s World Cup victory over Japan to be the single best sports accomplishment of the year.  American Pharaoh’s Triple Crown run came in second with 21% followed by the Kansas City Royals first World Series win since 1985 with 17%.  The New England Patriots’ fourth Super Bowl win since 2002 receives 14%.  13% point to the victory of the Golden State Warriors over the Cleveland Cavaliers for the NBA title as the biggest sports accomplishment of 2015.

Which player had the biggest impact on his or her sport in 2015?  Steph Curry of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, 27%, and New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, 27%, top the list.  Serena Williams, 19%, slides into the number three spot.

This Marist Poll has been conducted in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

Click Here for Complete December 17, 2015 USA Marist Poll Release and Tables

“These results affirm the significance of Tom Brady in the sports landscape,” says Keith Strudler, Director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication, “Brady is considered one of the two top athletes of the year but is also viewed as a central figure in one of the biggest sports stories of the year.”

Poll points:

  • 30% of American sports fans say “Deflategate” had the biggest impact on sports this year while 27% have this view of the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, and an additional 27% have this opinion of the resignation of the University of Missouri’s president as a result of the protests by the school’s football team over campus racism.  Only 9% of sports fans mention growing concern over Daily Fantasy sports wagering on websites such as Draft Kings or Fan Duel. 
  • Demographic differences exist.  “Deflategate” is thought to be the most influential sports story of the year by women who are sports fans, 33%, white sports fans, 32%, fans in the South, 31%, and those 45 or older, 30%.  Of note, 28% of fans 45 or older mention the protests at the University of Missouri. 
  • The resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter is deemed the most resounding sports story by Latino sports fans, 46%, and fans in the West, 33%, and men, 32%. 
  • 33% of sports fans in the Northeast think “Deflategate” is the story with the biggest impact on sports this year while 31% say the same about the resignation of Sepp Blatter.  Among Midwest fans, 31% cite the campus protests at the University of Missouri while 29% believe the “Deflategate” controversy was the most significant.  37% of African American sports fans note the importance of the campus protests at the University of Missouri while 34% think “Deflategate” was the most influential sports story in 2015.  Among those under 45 years old, 31% choose the FIFA scandal while 30% select “Deflategate.”
  • 33% of sports fans say the World Cup victory by the U.S. women’s soccer team over Japan is the biggest sports accomplishment of the year.  21% believe that honor goes to American Pharaoh’s Triple Crown win while 17% say the Kansas City Royals’ first World Series victory since 1985 deserves top honors.  14% say the New England Patriots’ fourth Super Bowl win since 2002 is the biggest sports accomplishment of the year. 13% have this opinion of the Golden State Warriors defeat of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals.
  • While the U.S. women’s soccer team’s World Cup win is considered the biggest sports accomplishment by sports fans in other regions, among fans in the Midwest, the World Cup win, 31%, and the Royals’ World Series victory, 28%, battle it out for this year’s top honor.
  • Among African American sports fans, 32% choose the U.S. women’s soccer team’s win while the same proportion, 32%, selects the Golden State Warriors’ victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers as the year’s biggest sports accomplishment.  More than three in ten white sports fans, 31%, consider the World Cup victory to take top honors while 27% say this year’s Triple Crown win by American Pharaoh deserves the noteworthy distinction.  42% of Latino sports fans mention the U.S. women’s soccer team’s World Cup victory.
  • 27% of sports fans nationally say the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry had the biggest impact on the NBA this year.  Another 27% think NFL quarterback Tom Brady had the largest effect on his sport while 19% say tennis great Serena Williams had a major impact on tennis.  12% of American sports fans report professional golfer Jordan Spieth had the biggest impact on his sport in 2015, and 9% think professional soccer player Carli Lloyd had the greatest effect on the soccer world. 
  • Demographically, Steph Curry is believed to have had the biggest impact on the NBA by African American fans, 40%, and those under 45 years old, 39%, including 43% of those 18 to 29 years old.  Men, 33%, Latinos, 31%, and sports fans who reside in the West, 31%, also have this view. 
  • Tom Brady is thought to have had the largest effect on the NFL by Northeast fans, 35%, white sports fans, 30%, and women who follow sports, 30%. 
  • 57% of Americans, similar to 60% last year, are sports fans.

Marist Poll Methodology

Marist Poll Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

12/18: NFL Domestic Violence Controversy Biggest Sports Story of 2014

December 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Special Events, Sports, Sports Bench

Looking back at some of the sports stories that made headlines in 2014, domestic violence in the National Football League tops the list as the year’s biggest sports story.  Regardless of demographic group, this story is the one that resonated most with sports fans nationally.

When it comes to the biggest sports accomplishment during the past twelve months, the San Francisco Giants third World Series victory in five years and the advance of the men’s national soccer team to the elimination round of the World Cup top the list.  And, while Peyton Manning is considered to be the athlete with the largest impact on his sport in 2014, LeBron James gives him a run for his money.  On many of these questions, there are differences based on race and age.

This Marist Poll is done in conjunction with The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

“These results reinforce the prominence of football in America. It’s once again where America finds its biggest star and its most dire situation,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “Americans are sending the NFL a clear message that they want the League to establish a sustainable domestic abuse policy.”

Complete December 18, 2014 Marist Poll of the United States 

Poll points:

  • Nearly half of sports fans, 49%, cite the domestic violence controversies in the NFL as the story with the biggest impact on sports this year.  The banning of Donald Sterling, the, now, former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, from the NBA for his racist remarks places a distant second with 24%.  Academic fraud in University athletic programs is mentioned by 11% while another 11% think the suspension of Alex Rodriguez for using performing enhancing drugs had the largest effect on sports in 2014.
  • When it comes to the biggest sports accomplishment of the year, 29% of fans think the San Francisco Giants third World Series win in five years takes the top spot while 27% believe the advance of the U.S. Men’s national soccer team to the elimination round of the World Cup deserves the top honor.  One in five sports fans, 20%, mentions the wins by both UCONN’s men and women in the NCAA basketball championship, and a similar, 19%, cite Serena Williams 18th Grand Slam victory.
  • Age and race matter on this question.  38% of sports fans under 30 and 31% of those 60 and older choose the Giants’ win while 36% of those 30 to 44 think the men’s performance in the World Cup deserves the top honor.  There is little consensus among those 45 to 59.  Looking at race, 42% of Latino sports fans select the Giants’ World Series win while 37% of African Americans choose Serena Williams’ 18th Grand Slam title.  White sports fans are torn between the performance by the men’s U.S. soccer team, 30%, and this year’s World Series victors, 29%.
  • NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, 33%, edges out LeBron James, 29%, as the player who had the biggest impact on their sport this year.  This is the third year that Manning has been selected as the most influential player by sports fans.  A majority of sports fans, 55%, selected Manning in 2013.  MLB’s Derek Jeter was chosen by 24% of sports fans this year.  One in ten fans pick professional soccer player Lionel Messi.
  • Age and race make a difference.  42% of sports fans 60 and older and 38% of those 30 to 44 believe Manning had the largest influence on his sport, football.  32% of sports fans under 30 say James is tops as the player with the greatest impact on his sport, basketball.  There is little consensus among sports fans 45 to 59 years of age.  Nearly half of African American sports fans, 48%, and a plurality of Latinos, 35%, selects James while 37% of white sports fans choose Manning.
  • Six in ten Americans, 60%, up from 55% last year, are sports fans.

Keith Strudler, Ph.D., is the director for the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  Dr. Strudler founded Marist’s popular concentration in sports communication in 2002, now one of the nation’s largest in the discipline.  He studies and teaches in the areas of sports media, sports and society, and sports reporting and information.  Dr. Strudler also writes weekly sports commentary for WAMC, an NPR radio station in Albany, NY.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

9/18: Majority Calls Foul on NFL Response to Domestic Violence Cases, but Only Three in Ten Want Goodell to Go

September 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Football, Sports, Sports Bench

In the wake of several cases of alleged domestic violence by professional football players, 53% of Americans, including 57% of football fans, think the National Football League has dropped the ball in handling the situation.  Still, only 29% of Americans and 32% of fans believe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should lose his job.  43% of residents and 46% of fans do not want him to resign as commissioner.

In light of the controversy swirling around Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson, Americans also weighed in on whether or not it is wrong for parents to use corporal punishment to discipline their children.  60% of Americans, including 67% of women, do not think it is an appropriate way to discipline children.  34% of residents think it is an appropriate action for a parent to take, including 51% of Americans who live in the South.  In other regions of the country, only about one-quarter of residents agree.

Awareness of the NFL controversy over domestic violence is widespread.  86% of Americans, including 93% of football fans, have heard, at least, something about the accusations of domestic violence by NFL players.  About one in ten football fans, 11%, says the recent news about the NFL has made them less likely to watch the sport.  86% of football fans say their viewing habits will be unchanged.

 Complete September 18, 2014 USA NBC News/Marist Poll

 Poll points:

  • 53% of Americans disapprove of how the NFL has handled the domestic violence accusations against some of its players while 27% approve.  21% are unsure.  Among football fans, 57% say the League should have responded differently, and 30% report the NFL’s response has been on the mark.  14% are unsure.
  • When it comes to Goodell’s future, 29% of Americans want Goodell to resign.  43% think he should retain his position, and a notable 29% are unsure.  Among football fans, 32% believe Goodell should step down, 46% want him to remain commissioner, and 21% are unsure.
  • Looking at the impact this controversy has had on NFL viewership, 85% of residents, including 86% of football fans, say it has not changed the amount of football they watch.  However, 12% of Americans, including 11% of fans, report they are less likely to tune into NFL games.
  • While 60% of Americans, including 59% of football fans, report it is not acceptable to discipline their children by hitting them with a paddle, switch, or belt, 34% of residents say it is.  35% of football fans are among those who condone corporal punishment.
  • Looking at gender, 67% of women and 52% of men disapprove of physically reprimanding their children.
  • 51% of residents in the South believe corporal punishment is appropriate compared with 27% in the West, 25% in the Midwest, and 20% in the Northeast.
  • 86% have heard, at least, a little about the recent controversy involving the NFL, including 93% of football fans.
  • 71% of Americans describe themselves as football fans, including 77% of men who watch at least a little professional football and 65% of women.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

 

 

5/5: Player’s Sexual Orientation Will Not Impact NFL Draft, Say Nearly Two-Thirds

May 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Football, Sports, Sports Bench

Michael Sam, the University of Missouri defensive lineman who publicly announced he is gay, will participate in this year’s NFL Draft.  What impact, if any, will Sam’s sexual orientation have on his NFL prospects?  Close to two-thirds of football fans nationally — 65% — do not think it will make any difference where he is selected in the draft.  One in four — 25% — thinks NFL teams will be less likely to pick him while 6% say it will make teams more likely to select Sam.  Three percent are unsure.

Click Here for Complete May 5, 2014 USA Marist Poll Release and Tables

This Marist Poll has been done in conjunction with The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

Men are slightly more likely than women to think that Sam’s announcement will have a negative impact on his professional football future.  29% of men, compared with 20% of women, believe Sam’s sexual orientation will make NFL teams less likely to choose him.     

“These results indicate that many football fans view professional football as a sport which is increasingly accepting of openly gay athletes,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  ”They believe that Michael Sam’s abilities, not his orientation, will determine his professional future.”

To be eligible for the NFL Draft, football players need to be out of high school for at least three years.  And, more than seven in ten football fans — 71% — think this is the right amount of time to wait before entering the draft.  15% believe the length of time is too long while 12% say it is not long enough.  Two percent are unsure.

Table: Impact of Michael Sam’s Announcement that He is Gay on NFL Draft

Table: Length of Time after High School Football Players Need to Wait Before Entering NFL Draft

Majority Supports Rookie Salary Cap

57% of football fans think there should be a salary cap for new players and that they should be paid less than players who have more experience.  39%, however, believe rookies should receive whatever the market will pay them even if they earn more than their experienced teammates.  Four percent are unsure.  Men — 41% — are slightly more likely than women — 36% — to think the pay limit should be lifted.

How many Americans are football fans?  65% follow professional football, at least, a little.  This includes 22% who watch a great deal of the game, 16% who follow a good amount of it, and 27% who catch a few games.  36% of adults nationally do not follow the game at all.  The proportion of football fans has remained steady.  When Marist last reported this question in 2011, 67% of Americans said they followed football, at least, a little.

Although there is a gender divide, nearly six in ten women — 57% — say they are football fans.  This compares with more than seven in ten men — 72% — who follow the sport.

Table: Favor or Oppose NFL Salary Cap for New Players

Table:  Professional Football Fans

 How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

 

1/22: Marijuana Use in Pro-Sports: Keep it Banned, Say More than Six in Ten

January 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Special Events, Sports, Sports Bench

Many Americans, including more than six in ten sports fans, think marijuana should continue to be banned in professional sports, regardless of state or federal laws which have legalized the substance.  62% of adults nationally believe the ban should stay in place.  36% of Americans think the ban on marijuana should be lifted, and 2% are unsure.  Similar proportions of sports fans share these views.

This HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll has been conducted in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  The current edition of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel explores the use of marijuana in the NFL.  The program replays multiple times on HBO and will also be available on HBO ON DEMAND and HBO GO.

Click Here for Complete January 22, 2014 USA HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll Release and Tables

There are age and gender differences.  Older Americans are more likely than younger residents to say that marijuana should be banned.  Seven in ten adults 60 and older — 70% — think marijuana should not be allowed for professional athletes.  This compares with 65% of those 45 to 59, 57% of residents 30 to 44, and 51% of Americans under 30. Looking at gender, women — 67% — are more likely than men — 57% — to think marijuana should be off limits for professional athletes.

“While marijuana is banned in the NFL, players tell Real Sports it is widely used, and for reasons that many might not expect,” says Joe Perskie, Senior Producer for HBO’s Real Sports.

Does marijuana use by professional athletes to relieve pain and anxiety trump its negative effects on performance?  Nearly two-thirds of Americans — 64% — say professional athletes should not be allowed to use the drug because of the negative effects it has on their game.  34%, however, believe they should be permitted to use the drug for medicinal purposes, and 3% are unsure.  The views of sports fans are in line with the overall population.

“Americans hold professional athletes to very high standards.  Smoking marijuana, even if legal, would likely shatter the image of excellence we demand from our sports heroes,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “In the end, we expect professional athletes to do three things: make physical sacrifice, care deeply about winning, and be role models for kids.”

Again, there are differences by age.  Americans under thirty — 55% — are more likely to say athletes should be allowed to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.  This compares with just 39% of residents 30 to 44 years old, 30% of those 45 to 59, and 23% of Americans 60 and older.

 

Table: Should Marijuana Continue to be a Banned Substance, Regardless of Federal or State Laws?

Table: Should Marijuana Use in Pro-sports be Allowed to Relieve Pain and Anxiety?

  How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

About Keith Strudler, Ph.D.

Keith Strudler, Ph.D., is the director for the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  Dr. Strudler founded Marist’s popular concentration in sports communication in 2002, now one of the nation’s largest in the discipline.  He studies and teaches in the areas of sports media, sports and society, and sports reporting and information.  Dr. Strudler also writes weekly sports commentary for WAMC, an NPR radio station in Albany, NY.

12/17: Boston Marathon Bombing, 2013 Sports Event Most Remembered

December 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured, Special Events, Sports, Sports Bench

Many memorable sports stories marked 2013, but for more than seven in ten sports fans nationally, the bombing at the Boston Marathon is the most notable.  71% of sports fans have this view.  This compares with 14% who think the NFL concussion settlement was the most significant.  Seven percent report baseball’s Biogenesis drug scandal had the largest effect while an additional 7% say the hazing scandal involving the Miami Dolphins had the biggest impact on sports in 2013.  One percent is unsure.

Regardless of age, race, region, income, level of education, and gender, the deadly attack at the Boston Marathon is thought to be the event that resonated the most in the sports world and beyond.

Click Here for Complete December 17, 2013 USA Marist Poll Release and Tables

This Marist Poll is done in conjunction with The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

“While stories like the concussion settlement and Biogenesis scandal were important in the context of their sports, the marathon tragedy went further to impact the national conversation, even for those with little or no interest in the event itself,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “The Boston Marathon both vastly impacted and transcended sport at the same time.”

Table: Story with the Biggest Impact on Sports in 2013

Iron Bowl and BoSox Vie for Title of 2013’s Best Cinderella Story 

The matchup between the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers is one of college sports’ most heralded rivalries.  When the Tigers returned the Crimson Tide’s missed field goal at the end of the game, resulting in an upset victory for Auburn, it went down in the books for 36% of sports fans as the Cinderella story of 2013.  However, about one-third of sports fans — 33% — disagree and give that title to the Boston Red Sox’s ascent from the worst team in baseball to World Series Champions.  Nearly one in five sports fans — 18% — think the Pittsburgh Pirates making Major League Baseball’s playoffs for the first time in 21 years is the greatest underdog story of the year.  This compares with 11% who report the most unexpected sports outcome was Florida Gulf Coast making the Sweet 16 of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.  Three percent are unsure.

There are regional, racial, and gender differences.  While a plurality of fans in the Northeast — 38% — think the Red Sox season is the biggest Cinderella story of the year, a plurality of those in the South — 45% — believe Auburn’s upset victory deserves the title.  40% of sports fans in the West say the Red Sox story outdoes the Auburn victory.  35% think the opposite is true.  In the Midwest, 36% cite Auburn’s win as the biggest sports surprise.  This compares with 30% who believe the Red Sox turnaround is the most unexpected sports story of 2013.

Looking at race, 40% of white sports fans think Auburn’s upset victory is the best Cinderella story of 2013.  This compares with 38% of non-white fans who say the Boston Red Sox climb from last to champs is the biggest upset of the year.  A gender divide also exists.  38% of men say the outcome of the Iron Bowl trumps the year’s other major sports fairytales, and 30% point to the BoSox.  However, women divide.  36% say the Red Sox season is the best Cinderella story of the year compared with 33% who say Auburn’s win takes the top spot.

Table: Best Cinderella Story of 2013

Big Papi’s MVP Title and the Heat’s Winning Streak Top Sports Accomplishments 

Which sports accomplishment do fans consider to be the best in 2013?  Nearly three in ten — 29% — say the Red Sox’s David Ortiz winning the World Series MVP is the best.  The Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak follows closely behind with 28%.  One in five — 20% — reports NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson winning his sixth Sprint Cup Championship takes top honors while 16% say Tiger Woods ranking as the number one golfer in the world is the biggest sports accomplishment of 2013.  Seven percent are unsure.

Age differences exist.  39% of those under thirty believe the Heat’s winning streak was the biggest accomplishment of the year.  The same proportion of those 30 to 44 — 39% — agree.  However, among fans 45 to 59, 35% say David Ortiz’s MVP title is the biggest sports accomplishment of 2013.  There is no consensus among those 60 and older.  One in four — 25% — cites David Ortiz being named World Series MVP.  This compares with 21% who mention the Heat’s winning streak, 20% who say Jimmie Johnson’s sixth Sprint Cup victory, and 20% who cite Tiger Woods’ number-one ranking.

Table: Single Best Sports Accomplishment of 2013

Peyton Manning Named Most Influential Athlete for Second Year

A majority of sports fans nationally — 55% — say Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is the player who has had the biggest impact on his sport in 2013.  This is the second year in which Manning has received this title.  Miami Heat power forward LeBron James is considered by 20% to be the player who had the biggest impact on the NBA.  11% believe tennis great Serena Williams was the most influential on her sport while 10% report Detroit TigersMiguel Cabrera had the biggest impact on his sport this year.  Five percent are unsure.

Just how many Americans are sports fans?  A majority — 55% — are while 45% say they are not.

Table: Player with the Biggest Impact on Their Sport in 2013

Table: Sports Fans Nationally

 

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

12/27: Phelps’ Olympic Medal Record Biggest Accomplishment in Sports This Year

December 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, Special Events, Sports, Sports Bench

Months removed from the London Olympics, stories from the games top the list of 2012’s biggest accomplishments in sports.  Among sports fans nationally, 28% consider Michael Phelps breaking the Olympic medal record to be the single best sports accomplishment of the year.  The gold medal win by the U.S. women’s gymnastics team tumbled into the hearts of 23% of U.S. sports fans.  13% believe Notre Dame’s football team played like champions during their undefeated regular season while the third consecutive gold medal for the U.S. women’s soccer team is deemed the biggest sports accomplishment by 12%.  However, 11% think Drew Brees’ record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass trumped sports while 10% of U.S. sports fans say the Triple Crown win by the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera was a home run this year.  Three percent are unsure.

This Marist Poll has been done in conjunction with The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

Click Here for Complete December 27, 2012 Poll Release and Tables

“The results remind us that Olympic accomplishments carry enormous weight with the American public,”says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “They also highlight Michael Phelps’ place among the hierarchy of American sports greats.”

Men and women differ on this question.  While 31% of men think Phelps breaking the Olympic medal record deserves the title of single best sports accomplishment of 2012, 33% of women say the gold medal win by the U.S. women’s gymnastics team takes the crown.

Table: Single Best Sports Accomplishment of 2012

Touchdown! Big Blue’s Super Bowl Win Scores as Best Sports Championship

When it comes to the best sports championship of 2012, the Super Bowl victory by the New York Giants is tops.  36% of U.S. sports fans have this view.  17%, however, believe the World Series win by the San Francisco Giants deserves the honor.  13% report the college football national title win by the Alabama Crimson Tide is the best championship of the year while an additional 13% say the NBA Championship victory by the Miami Heat tops their list.  The NHL season may be on ice due to the current lockout, but the 2012 Stanley Cup win by the Los Angeles Kings is tops in the minds of 8% of sports fans.  Seven percent, though, report the NCAA men’s basketball championship victory by the Kentucky Wildcats deserves the title.  Six percent are unsure.

Regionally, the Super Bowl victory by the New York Giants is thought to be the top sports championship by 45% in the Northeast, 43% in the Midwest, and 29% in the South.  However, in the West, the World Series triumph by the San Francisco Giants — 35% — edges the New York football Giants’ victory — 30%.

While 44% of sports fans age 30 to 44, 42% of those 45 to 59, and 32% of fans 60 and older give top honors to the New York Giants Super Bowl win, there is less agreement among younger fans.  27% of fans under 30 say the Miami Heat’s NBA championship was the best sports championship of 2012.  This compares with 24% who say the same about the New York Giants taking home the Lombardi trophy.

Table: Best Sports Championship of 2012

Sandusky Scandal Sends Shockwaves

The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal not only stunned the Penn State community, but it had a large impact on the sports world.  In fact, nearly half of sports fans nationally — 48% — believe this story had the biggest impact on sports in 2012.  The Lance Armstrong doping scandal comes in a distant second with 18% followed by 13% who mention the replacement referees in the NFL, and 10% who pick the NHL lockout as having the greatest impact on sports in 2012.  Six percent believe the NFL bounty scandal hardest hit sports this year.  Four percent are unsure.

Regardless of region, income, age, ethnicity, and gender, the Sandusky scandal is thought to be the story with the largest impact on sports in 2012.

Table: Story with the Biggest Impact on Sports in 2012

Peyton Manning Most Influential on His Sport

When it comes to the player with the biggest impact on their sport in 2012, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning, takes the top spot.  35% of U.S. sports fans have this view of him.  The Miami Heat’s LeBron James comes in second with 24% who say he has had the biggest impact on basketball.  Swimming phenomenon Missy Franklin is thought to have had the largest effect on her sport by 10%.  The same proportion — 10% — says the PGA’s Rory McIlroy was the most influential in golf while an additional 10% believe Serena Williams had the largest impact on tennis.  Five percent think Major League Baseball’s Mike Trout had the biggest impact on the diamond, and 6% are unsure.

Table: Player with the Biggest Impact on Their Sport in 2012

Don’t Believe the Hype

Which athlete do sports fans think is the most overhyped?  A plurality — 46% — says Tim Tebow of the New York Jets deserves this dubious distinction.  Third baseman for the New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez, is believed by 18% to be the most overrated athlete this year.  NASCAR’s Danica Patrick is perceived by 12% to be the most overvalued athlete.  Linsanity fizzled out for the 8% of sports fans nationally who believe the NBA’s Jeremy Lin is the most overhyped athlete.  Six percent say Olympic track star Lolo Jones is the most overrated, and 10% are unsure.

Just how many adults nationally are sports fans?  Six in ten — 60% — are while 40% are not.

Table: Most Overhyped Athlete of 2012

Table: Sports Fans Nationally

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

About Keith Strudler, Ph.D.

Keith Strudler, Ph.D., is the director for the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  Dr. Strudler founded Marist’s popular concentration in sports communication in 2002, now one of the nation’s largest in the discipline.  He studies and teaches in the areas of sports media, sport and society, and sports reporting and information.  Dr. Strudler also writes weekly sports commentary for WAMC, an NPR radio station in Albany, NY.

12/15: Goal! USA Women’s Soccer Victory Best Sports Accomplishment of 2011

December 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Special Events, Sports, Sports Bench

2011 has been a big year for sports!  And, of all the great moments, the win by USA women’s soccer over Brazil in the World Cup takes the top spot as the best single sports accomplishment of the year.  Nearly one-third of sports fans nationally — 32% — have this view.  The sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers by the Dallas Mavericks comes in a distant second with 18% while Derek Jeter getting his 3,000th hit is perceived to be the most significant sports accomplishment of 2011 by 15%.  13% believe Butler’s second trip to the NCAA Championship rates most significant while 11% say the Rose Bowl win by Texas Christian University deserves that description.  Five percent think another sports moment is the best, and 6% are unsure.

soccer ball 2011

©istockphoto.com/Pasha Ignatov

This Marist Poll has been done in conjunction with The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

Click Here for Complete December 15, 2011 Poll Release and Tables

“These results speak to the public’s greater respect for women’s sports as well as our clear thirst for nationalism through sport,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication. “We should always consider that while we live in an increasingly global society, sport remains one of the few places to reclaim national identity and superiority.  That may be particularly true as the United States faces economic uncertainty amidst the rise of new emerging superpowers.”

While those 30 years of age and older — 31% of those 30 to 44, 39% of those 45 to 59, and 32% of those 60 and older — rank the World Cup win as the best single sports accomplishment of the year, 30% of those under 30 say the Mavericks’ victory deserves the title.

More women — 37% — than men — 29% — report USA besting Brazil in the World Cup takes the number one slot.

Table: Single Best Sports Accomplishment of 2011

Packers Split the Uprights … Super Bowl Win Called Best Sports Championship of 2011

The Lombardi Trophy isn’t the only award the Green Bay Packers have received in 2011.  The team’s Super Bowl victory is considered to be the best sports championship of the year by 36% of sports fans.  Three in ten — 30% — say the St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series was the home run of sports this year while 15% think the Dallas Mavericks’ NBA Championship win was a slam dunk.  The Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup win and Rory McIlroy’s US Open victory are perceived by 8% and 5%, respectively, as the best sports championship of 2011.  Three percent select another championship, and 3% are unsure.

There are age and gender differences on this question.  While more than four in ten sports fans under 30 — 41% — and 38% of those 60 and older rate the Packers’ Super Bowl victory as the greatest championship of the year, there is less of a consensus among fans in other age groups.  33% of those 30 to 44 choose the Super Bowl win while 29% select the Cardinals’ World Series victory.  Among fans 45 to 59, 32% select the Packers’ victory while the same proportion — 32% — rate the Cardinals’ World Series victory as the top championship of 2011.

Table: Best Sports Championship of 2011

Lockouts Have Biggest Impact on Sports in 2011 … Aaron Rodgers Most Influential Player

A plurality of sports fans — 41% — say, when it comes to the biggest impact on sports this year, the NBA and NFL lockouts and labor disputes have left the largest mark.  Nearly three in ten — 28% — think the scandals in college athletics have had the greatest impact while 15% report investigations and trials for performance enhancing drugs have topped the list.  12% believe college conference realignment has had the most impact, and 4% are unsure.

While 43% of fans in the West, 42% of those in the Midwest, and 42% of fans in the South believe the lockouts had the biggest impact, 41% of Northeast fans say the same about the scandals in college athletics.

Which player has had the biggest mark on his sport in 2011?  32% of fans say NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been the most influential.  Nearly one in five — 19% — report NBA player LeBron James had the biggest impact on basketball while 15% say NFL quarterback Tim Tebow had the biggest effect on football.  Golfer Rory McIlroy is deemed by 13% to be the player with the largest impact on his sport while 12% report NBA player Dirk Nowitski greatly impacted basketball.  Nine percent are unsure.

While older sports fans — 42% of those between 30 and 44 years of age, 31% of those 45 to 59, and 31% of those 60 and older — say Rodgers had the biggest impact in 2011, younger fans — 34% of those under the age of 30 — think LeBron James has.

There is a gender difference.  39% of men say Aaron Rodgers deserves the title of most influential sports player.  However, there is less of a consensus among women.  Here, 23% select Rodgers while 22% choose LeBron James.

Just how many adults nationally are sports fans?  More than six in ten — 61% — say they are while 39% report they are not.

Table: Story with the Biggest Impact on Sports in 2011

Table: Player with the Biggest Impact on Their Sport in 2011

Table: Sports Fans Nationally

Marist Poll Methodology

About Keith Strudler, Ph.D.

Keith Strudler, Ph.D., is the director for the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  Dr. Strudler founded Marist’s popular concentration in sports communication in 2002, now one of the nation’s largest in the discipline.  He studies and teaches in the areas of sports media, sport and society, and sports reporting and information.  Dr. Strudler also writes weekly sports commentary for WAMC, an NPR radio station in Albany, NY.

9/27: No Clear NFL Surprise

September 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Football, Sports, Sports Bench

With the NFL season underway, is there a sleeper team in the mix?  According to this Marist Poll, there’s no clear surprise among football fans nationally.  Nine percent of fans think the Detroit Lions will be the biggest surprise this season, 6% believe the Dallas Cowboys will come out of nowhere while the same proportion — 6% — say the Philadelphia Eagles will be this year’s upset team.  The Green Bay Packers are perceived by 5% to charge the field and shock football fans while 4% say the Oakland Raiders will split the uprights as the NFL’s surprise of the season.  A majority — 55% — believe another team will shock fans and commentators alike, and 15% are unsure.

football in grass

©istockphoto.com/spxchrome

Click Here for Complete September 27, 2011 USA Marist Poll Release and Tables

The proportion of football fans remains consistent.  67% of adults nationally report they watch football at least a little.  Included here are 22% who tune into the sport a great deal, 17% who follow it a good amount, and 28% who watch it a little.  34% of U.S. residents, however, do not follow the sport at all.

In November 2010, 68% followed professional football at least a little.  Included here are 18% who admitted to being an armchair quarterback most of the time, 15% who caught a good amount of football fever, and 35% reported they followed a little of the action on the gridiron.  32%, at that time, said they had no interest in the sport.

Table: NFL Surprise of 2011-2012 Season

Table: Professional Football Fans

Marist Poll Methodology

Next Page »