Lockout Likely to Damage NFL Ratings

May 11, 2011

harris-nfl-lockout-effects-may11.gifAbout one in five (19%) US adults say they will be less likely to watch televised NFL football this fall if the current labor lockout continues and delays the scheduled start of the season, according to an April 2011 Harris Poll. Only 4% say they will be more likely to watch, with two-thirds (67%) saying it would not change their current likelihood of watching and 10% not sure.

Men More Likely to Have Negative Impact than Women

Dividing results by gender, men (22%) are more than one-third more likely than women (16%) to say a delayed season would make them less likely to watch football on TV. Both genders have the same rate of saying it would make them more likely (4%).

Oldest Adults Most Affected

Looking at viewers by age range, adults 55 and up have a rate of being less likely to watch football if the season is delayed (25%) about twice as high as adults 18-34 (12%). Adults 35-44 have the second-highest rate of being negatively impacted (19%).

Mid-Income Adults Most Likely to Reduce Viewing

Adults with a middle income level (annual household income of $35,000 to $49,999) have the highest rate of any income bracket (21%) for being less likely to watch football if there is a season delay, followed closely by the wealthiest adults in the survey sample (annual household income of $75,000 or more), with a 20% rate of being less likely to watch.

Interestingly, adults in the $35,000 to $49,999 income range have a much lower rate of not being sure how a delayed season would affect their football viewing habits (2%) than any other demographic group analyzed in the survey.

Football Remains Top US Sport

Three in 10 Americans who follow at least one sport (31%) say professional football is their favorite sport, while 17% say baseball, according to results of a previously released Harris Poll. This is a narrowing of the gap from 2010, when over one-third (35%) of sports fans said professional football was their favorite sport and 16% said it was baseball.

About the Data: This Adweek/Harris Poll was conducted online within the US between April 25 and 27, 2011 among 2,124 adults (aged 18 and over). 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. Where appropriate, this data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult online population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.


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