Blog Entry

Poll: CFB, MLB tied as U.S.'s 2nd-favorite sport

Posted on: January 26, 2012 3:29 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College football's popular, but it isn't exploding in popularity these days, sad to say--one look at the most recent round of BCS bowl attendances or television ratings could tell you as much. But according to one recent annual fan poll, it is maintaining its popularity in an age when sports fandom is growing increasingly fractured. And it's maintaining it well enough that's it's now pulled even with no less than the national pastime as the nation's second-favorite sport.

That's according to poll results released this week by Harris Interactive, the same polling information company that manages the Harris Poll used by the BCSAs they've done every year since 1985, Harris asked sports fans to name their favorite sport, and the NFL once again led the way by a huge (and growing) margin; 36 percent of the 2,000 respondents chose pro football No. 1. 

But it's the runner-up spot where things get interesting. Thanks to college football getting a slight uptick to 13 percent and Major League Baseball slipping four percentage points from 2011 to the same 13 percent level, the two sports are now tied as the nation's second most popular. Though college football has been within five percentage points of baseball since 2002 -- with college football falling at either 12 or 13 percent every year since 2005 -- this is the first time the two sports have finished dead even.

Unfortunately for baseball, demographics suggest college football could surge into second for good in the coming years. Only 8 percent of respondents aged 50-64 named college football their favorite sport, compared to 21 percent for baseball. College football was particularly popular with "those with a post-graduate degree (22%), college graduates (19%) and Midwesterners (18%)," and less popular with "Easterners (4%) [and] those with a household income of under $35,000 (8%)."

Driven by NASCAR, "auto racing" finished fourth at 8 percent, followed by both pro and college basketball and hockey, all at 5 percent.

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Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2012 3:21 am

Poll: CFB, MLB tied as U.S.'s 2nd-favorite sport

I think CFB would be #1 on everyone's map if they had an 8 team playoff though.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2012 3:18 am

Poll: CFB, MLB tied as U.S.'s 2nd-favorite sport

I would've thought CFB would have easily beaten MLB. I love both, but football rules above all. I'd go NFL, CFB, MLB, NHL, NBA. I only watch soccer when the US is playing in the WC. NASCAR and Golf suck balls. I do like getting hammered and playing golf though.

Since: Mar 14, 2007
Posted on: January 27, 2012 11:50 am

Poll: CFB, MLB tied as U.S.'s 2nd-favorite sport

<span style="color: #000000;">After reading the poll results and then reading the demographics of it ,and the comments here, I am willing to bet, if you took this same poll and divided North America  into four ,  you would find that the NFL in some areas is not favoured by such a large margin. Poll should have been done by region , would have been much more interesting .Sports like hockey ,are regional.

Since: Feb 4, 2009
Posted on: January 26, 2012 7:42 pm

Poll: CFB, MLB tied as U.S.'s 2nd-favorite sport

Ill say the UFC,Boxing,MLB,CFL,NFL,world Soccer and Rugby are the best sports to watch in the world then College football in the USA.

Since: Jan 24, 2010
Posted on: January 26, 2012 7:41 pm

Poll: CFB, MLB tied as U.S.'s 2nd-favorite sport

I'd go with MLB, NFL, Soccer (Futbol), College Basketball, College Football, Hockey, NBA. 

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: January 26, 2012 6:41 pm

Poll: CFB, MLB tied as U.S.'s 2nd-favorite sport

I am a huge college football fan and definitely have that as #1, with the NFL being second.  I know I am in a tiny minority here, but college baseball would probably be my third favorite sport, followed by college basketball, auto racing (NASCAR is great for a Sunday afternoon nap), and then the NBA.  MLB is no longer on my radar at all. 

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 26, 2012 4:11 pm

Poll: CFB, MLB tied as U.S.'s 2nd-favorite sport

I'd come back to college football if they had a playoff system in I-A, but at the moment, I can't make myself care. Baseball is going to win that even if I'm ticked at my baseball team because at least the season means something. That said, I still have baseball sitting sixth or seventh on my radar. My list is NHL, college basketball, NFL, MLS and tennis, with baseball fighting to stay ahead of English soccer. Right now, I've got college football ninth behind the NBA.

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