Professional Football Continues to Be the Nation's Favorite Sport Baseball is now a distant second in popularity followed by college football

and auto racing



    ROCHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Professional football continues
 to surge in popularity as one-third (33%) of U.S. adults who follow at least
 one sport say it is their favorite sport. This is up three points from last
 year. Baseball slips slightly again this year, dropping to 14 percent, down
 one point from last year. Coming close on the heels of baseball is college
 football (13%) followed by auto racing (11%). While both of these have seen a
 rise in the past year, racing is up four points this year, most likely as a
 result of NASCAR's increasing popularity.
     These are the results of a nationwide Harris Interactive(R) survey
 conducted online between December 8 and 14, 2005 among 1,961 U.S. adults, of
 whom 1,402 follow at least one sport.
     In the past 20 years, professional football and baseball have seen the
 most dramatic changes in popularity. Since 1985, professional football has
 risen nine points in popularity (from 24% to 33%), while baseball has dropped
 the same amount (23% to 14%). The next largest change in popularity is in auto
 racing, which has risen six points since 1985, from five to 11 percent. Men's
 tennis has seen a drop in popularity of four points in this same time period
 down to one percent from five percent in 1985.
 
     Demographic variations
     The survey also finds some sizable differences between different segments
 of the population. Pro football is most popular among African Americans (47%),
 those with household incomes of $50,000 to under $75,000 (41%) and $35,000 to
 under $50,000 (40%), and among Generation X (those aged 28 to 39) (39%). Those
 with a post graduate education are least likely (23%) to call professional
 football their favorite sport.
     Baseball does best among Hispanics (20%) and Echo Boomers (those aged 18-
 27) (21%). African Americans are least likely to say baseball is their
 favorite sport (6%).
     College football is particularly popular among Republicans and those with
 post graduate degrees (both 20%). Five percent of those with household incomes
 of less than $15,000 cite professional football as their favorite sport.
     Auto racing (which includes NASCAR) is most popular among those with a
 high school education or less (19%) and Baby Boomers (15%), while it fares
 worst among those with a post graduate degree (2%) and Generation X (4%).
 
 
                                    TABLE 1
                                FAVORITE SPORTS
     "If you had to choose, which ONE of these sports would you say is your
                                   favorite?"
 
     Base: All adults who follow more than one sport
                                                                        CHANGE
                 1985 1989 1992 1993 1994 1997 1998 2002 2003 2004 2005  1985 -
                                                                         2005
                   %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %     %
     Pro
      football    24   26   28   24   24   28   26   27   29   30   33    +9
     Baseball     23   19   21   18   17   17   18   14   13   15   14    -9
     College
      football    10    6    7    8    7   10    9    9    9   11   13    +3
     Auto
      racing       5    4    5    6    5    5    7   10    9    7   11    +6
     Men's
      college
      basketball   6   10    8    8    8    6    4    4    6    6    5    -1
     Hockey        2    3    3    3    5    4    3    3    3    4    5    +3
     Men's pro
      basketball   6    7    8   12   11   13   13   11   10    7    4    -2
     Men's golf    3    4    4    6    5    6    4    4    5    4    4    +1
     Boxing       NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA    2    2    NA
     Men's
      soccer       3    2    2    1    3    3    4    3    3    3    2    -1
     Horse
      racing       4    3    3    2    2    2    2    1    2    1    2    -2
     Men's
      tennis       5    4    4    4    3    3    4    1    2    1    1    -4
     Women's
      tennis      NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA    3    2    2    1    NA
     Bowling       3    5    2    2    1    1    2    2    1    1    1    -2
     Women's pro
      basketball  NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA    *    1    1    *    *    NA
     Women's
      college
      basketball  NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA    1     1   *    1    *    NA
     Women's
      soccer      NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA    NA  NA    1    *    NA
     Track &
      field        2    2    1    1    2    2    3     1   3    1    *     -
     Women's
      golf        NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA    NA   1    *    *    NA
     Not sure      *    1    4    1    2    2    1     3   1    2    2     -
     Pro
      football's
      lead over
      baseball     1    7    7    6    7    11   8    13   16   15   19  +18
 
     Note 1: NA = Not asked. Previously did not distinguish between men and
             women's sports when asking these questions.
     Note 2: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
 
 
                                    TABLE 2
                   DEMOGRAPHIC VARIATIONS IN FAVORITE SPORTS
     "If you had to choose, which ONE of these sports would you say is your
                                   favorite?"
 
     Base: All adults who follow more than one sport
 
        Sport     All Adults     Highest                   Lowest
                     %                            %                           %
     Pro football   33       African American    47   Post Grad education    23
                             $50,000-$74,999     41   Echo Boomers (18-27)   27
                             $35,000-$49,999     40   $25,000-$34,999        28
                             Gen X (28 - 39)     39   Hispanics              29
 
     Baseball       14       Hispanics           20   African American        6
                             Echo Boomers
                              (18 - 27)          21   $15,000-$24,999         9
 
     College
      Football      13       Post-graduate       20   Less than $15,000       5
                             Republican          20   African American        7
                             $75,000+            19   $50,000-$74,999         9
                             South               17   $35,000-$49,999         9
 
     Auto Racing    11       Baby Boomers
                              (40 - 58)          15   Post graduate           2
                             $35,000-$49,999     15   Gen X (29-39)           4
                             High school or less 19   College graduate        4
 
     Methodology
     The Harris Poll(R) was conducted online within the United States between
 December 8 and 14, 2005 among a nationwide cross section of 1,961 adults (aged
 18 and over), of whom 1,402 follow at least one sport. Figures for age, sex,
 race, 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.
     In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95
 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or
 minus 2.5 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult
 population had been polled with complete accuracy. Sampling error for the
 various sub-samples listed in the tables above is higher and varies.
 Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls
 or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of
 sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse),
 question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to
 quantify the errors that may result from these factors. This online sample was
 not a probability sample.
     These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
     J26225
     Q900, Q905
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), based in Rochester,
 New York, is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market research firm in
 the world, most widely known for The Harris Poll(R) and for its pioneering
 leadership in the online market research industry. Long recognized by its
 clients for delivering insights that enable confident business decisions, the
 Company blends the science of innovative research with the art of strategic
 consulting to deliver knowledge that leads to measurable and enduring value.
     Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States,
 Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly-owned
 subsidiary Novatris in Paris, France (www.novatris.com), and through an
 independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, go to www.harrispollonline.com.
 
     Press Contacts:
 
     Nancy Wong
     Harris Interactive
     585-214-7316
 
     Kelly Gullo
     Harris Interactive
     585-214-7172
 
     Harris Interactive Inc. 12/05
 
 

SOURCE Harris Interactive Inc.

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