SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ASKS NFL FANS WHO’S RIGHT? WHO’S WRONG? WHAT’S NEXT?
44% of Fans Say Canceled or Delayed Season Would Make Them Less Interested in Future of NFL;
63% of Fans Would Watch Replacement Players;
NCAA Football, MLB and NBA Would Gain Attention
(New York – April 5, 2011) – Sports Illustrated surveyed NFL fans to get their opinions on the current labor dispute and potential disruption of the 2011 NFL season. Nearly half of fans (44%) say they would have less future interest in the NFL after a delayed or canceled season. More than half of fans (53%) expect a full NFL season without replacement players in 2011, but if replacement players are used 63 percent will still watch. The survey, which appears in the April 11 issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands tomorrow, was conducted by noted research group M&RR and polled 314 random NFL fans ages 18 and older. It has a margin of error +5.5 percentage points.
With a disrupted NFL season, NCAA football would gain prominence getting more attention from 57.3 percent of NFL fans, the MLB by 45.3 percent and the NBA by 37.3 percent. Half of NFL fans (47.5%) say they would watch more non-sports TV and 61.2 percent would watch more of other televised sports without the NFL season. Fans would also spend more time surfing the internet (56.1%), with significant others (45.1%), doing yard work chores (43.6%), playing video games (33.5%) and at church (13%).
What would fans miss most if the season is disrupted? 41.8 percent of fans said watching with friends and family and 40.7 percent said following a team. Only 5.2 percent of fans said fantasy football is what they’ll most miss and only 1.3 percent said betting on games.
More than half of fans (55.3%) place equal blame on the owners and the NFLPA for the labor dispute and the fans believe the top issues responsible are players’ salaries (86.5%), owners’ profits (85.7%) and players’ health and pension benefits (76.7%). Other issues cited include injury compensation (70.3%), proposed 18-game regular season (69.2%) and rookie wage (63.4%). When asked if players should receive lifetime medical benefits 45.3% said yes, 34.2% said no and 20.6% were unsure.