Over the past year, our lives have been altered due to the coronavirus pandemic. Throw in the nation’s reaction following the police killing of George Floyd and the aftermath of protests of racial injustice along with police brutality, specifically against Black people, it was bound to cause some type of reaction.
With many athletes from college up to the professional level in basically all sports, the messages from people of color and our allies have started to affect the way most audiences started viewing their favorite sports.
According to Yahoo Sports, due to last summer’s social justice protests, which consumed sports for much of the second half of 2020, nearly half of all Americans who viewed sports had changed their habits about watching their favorite games based on the results of a new YouGov/Yahoo News poll. As athletes, teams, and sports leagues embraced a progressive strategy that embraced the messages of social justice and political advocacy, some sports watchers began viewing more sports, but about three times as many watched less.
The Yahoo News survey was conducted between March 22–25 by YouGov among 1,606 adults from the United States and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. Survey respondents were asked, “How has the discussion of politics in sports on social media impacted your viewing habits,” and the options for the responses were: if they watched more sports, fewer sports, or the same, with a breakout option to state that they are not sports fans at all.
Of those polled, about 11% said they now watch more because of political and social messaging. Yet, 34.5%, a little more than one-third, stated that they are watching less. The vast majority, roughly 56.3% said they watch about the same amount regardless of political or social messaging.
Thirty-seven percent of men said they had watched less as opposed to 28% of women. Meanwhile, 13% of men said they watched more sports in the wake of social justice movements, as opposed to only 7% of women.