For the second year in a row, the three favorite baseball teams among US adults are the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves, according to a June 2011 Harris Poll. Rounding out the top five are number four Chicago Cubs (up from number five in 2010) and number five Los Angeles Dodgers (number eight last year).
The Yankees have been the number one baseball team in America for nine straight years since 2003.
Rangers, Orioles Up, Giants, Brewers Down
The Texas Rangers, who lost the 2010 World Series to the San Francisco Giants, moved up four spots year-over-year, from 12 to eight. The other big mover in the positive direction were the Baltimore Orioles, who despite continuing struggles jumped from number 20 to number 13.
Interestingly, last year’s World Series champion Giants dramatically dropped in the rankings from 2010, going from number seven to number 14. The Milwaukee Brewers also notably lost popularity, dropping from number 11 to number 19.
Men, Hispanics, Easterners, Wealthy Follow Baseball
Not surprisingly, the percentage of men who follow baseball (48%) is close to double that of women (25%). In addition, Hispanics (45%) are much more likely to follow baseball than African-Americans (38%) or whites (34%), likely reflecting baseball’s popularity in Latin America and the large number of prominent Latino baseball players.
In addition, Easterners (45%) are substantially more likely than residents of any other region to follow baseball, and 18% more likely than residents of the number two region, the West (38%). This may reflect the location of the most popular two baseball teams in the East.
There is also a wealth and education gap among baseball fans. Forty-three percent of adults earning $75,000 to $99,999 are baseball fans, as are 47% of those earning $100,000 or more. Only 33% of the economic group with the next-highest percentage of baseball fans, adults earning $35,000 or less, follows baseball.
Educational trends follow earning trends, with adults holding postgraduate degrees and college degrees following baseball at much higher rates than adults with lower levels of education.
Percentage of Baseball Fans Down from ’09
Overall, 36% of US adults follow baseball. This figure is flat from 2010 but down 12% from 41% 2009. Baseball received a slight popularity bump in 2008, when 40% of US adults followed it, up 8% from 37% in 2007. Prior to that, the percentage of adults following baseball had stayed virtually flat since 2004.
Yankee Players Dominate Baseball Marketability
Three of the 10 most marketable current Major League Baseball players are members of the New York Yankees, according to Nielsen and E-Poll’s 2011 N-Score ranking. The top two players, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, are both Yankees, as is number nine Alex Rodriguez. The N-Score measures name and image awareness, appeal and personality attributes such as sincerity, approachability, experience and influence, both at the national and local levels, in terms of endorsement potential.
About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the US June 13 to 20, 2011 among 2,163 adults (aged 18 and older) of whom 754 follow major league baseball. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.