Public Support For Sports Implodes As Leagues Embrace Black Lives Matter, Polls Find

Chris Menahan
Sep. 08, 2020

Americans have gone from viewing the sports industry positively, on balance, to negatively in the wake of sports leagues embracing the divisive Black Lives Matter movement, a new survey found.

According to a Gallup survey conducted Jul 30-Aug 12, 2020, only 30% of Americans view the industry positively versus 40% who view it negatively, giving the industry an overall rating of -10.

In Aug 2019, the industry's overall rating was +20, with 45% viewing it positively and 25% negatively. There has been a -30 shift in just one year.

"Democrats' view of the sports industry has not changed significantly in the past year, while Republicans' has slipped from a +11 net-positive score in 2019 to a net -35 today, and independents' from +26 to -10," Gallup reported.

"The sports industry's image has also deteriorated more among women than men, and among older adults than those younger than 35. Sports has also lost more support from non-White than White Americans, but given the extraordinarily high ratings from non-White adults a year ago, this group continues to view the sports industry positively on balance today. That is not the case with White adults, who now view the sports industry more negatively than positively, and by a 22-point margin."

Another Harris poll released last week found 39 percent of NBA fans say they're watching fewer games.

"'The league has become too political' was the clear choice for the decline, with 38% of respondents," The Harris Poll reported. "'Boring without fans' captured 28% of the vote while the NBA's association with China caused 19% of sports fans to turn the dial."

Game 7 reported last week that the NBA's ratings are in "free fall."

"Despite the NBA Playoffs being in full swing and all the games having actual, genuine meaning, TV ratings for the first round were down 27 percent year over year," Game 7 reported Tuesday.

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