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Study Measuring Consumer Attitudes Shows Fans Miss Sports More Than Other Activities

JWB3 Media Insights, a full-service consulting firm providing strategic expertise in consumer insights, audience measurement, primary research and content development to the sports and media industries, released the results of a new study today, offering a snapshot into how much consumers are missing sports during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“As this study shows, fans agree that sports returning will make them happier and will bring families and communities closer together,” says Joe Brown, Principal, JWB3 Media Insights. “Returning to competition can be a real sign of strength in the face of a crisis.”

The survey, conducted May 5-8, 2020 and in participation with Full Circle Research, interviewed 1,008 people, aged 18+, and provides insights around fan expectations for the re-opening of sports in the US.

Fans miss sports more than church. 47% of avid sports fans miss watching sports on TV every day, which is more than other activities that have been impacted by the shutdown, including attending church services, eating at restaurants or going to the movies.

To most Americans, sporting events are as essential as restaurants and malls. Professional sporting events held without fans are viewed as essential or more essential than many businesses that are re-opening. Most Americans think professional sporting events are at least as essential as Bars/Restaurants (53%), Malls (59%) and Golf Courses (77%). But there remains a divide, as 48% agree that sports should not return until other non-essential businesses are fully re-opened.

Auto racing, golf and tennis are viewed as “safe.” Individual sports are perceived as safe to play during the pandemic by nearly two-thirds of Americans, while contact sports such as boxing, football, basketball, soccer and hockey, have low safety scores.

Leagues and Networks must give back. 66% expect some money from professional sporting events to be donated to coronavirus-related charities.

“When we reached out to consumers across the U.S., the majority of respondents made it clear that sporting events are looked upon as being as essential to their daily lives, as say, going out to a bar, a restaurant or even shopping at the mall,” said Brown. “However, fans are conflicted around how that will work. They want normalcy, but they fear that the coronavirus will spread if the re-opening of sports is conducted too quickly. The time is right to experiment with limited events that maximize safety. ”

Download the full report at

About JWB3 Media Insights

Building on his 20 years of experience leading Strategic Insights and Research for the NBC Sports Group, Joe Brown founded JWB3 Media Insights in 2019. JWB3 Media Insights provides consulting services to the sports and media industries, including consumer insights, audience measurement, primary research and content development. While at NBC Sports, Brown created Total Audience Delivery, a cross-platform audience metric, which combines digital and linear audiences. Brown also developed NBC’s “Live Across” Broadcast Strategy and audience research plans for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

About Full Circle Research

Twice-named on Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America (2017, 2019), Full Circle Research was the first and only U.S.-based, online consumer sample provider to earn ISO 26362 certification, is currently ISO 20252-certified and remains the only company to offer HoNoR (Holistic Next-level Research™). This enhanced survey experience is unprecedented and automated—a marriage of advanced technology, flexible community strategies and industry-leading quality controls that gives business decision-makers immediate access to the purest data in the industry. Full Circle’s foresight, agility and commitment to innovation translate into a uniquely pro-active, consultative experience. To learn more, visit


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