Poll: Half of Americans won't attend games yet

Jay Busbee
·3 min read

Half of all Americans say it's still too soon to start thinking about attending any live sporting events, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll. 

Asked whether they would attend a game with fans in attendance, 51 percent of respondents said "No." The "yes" responses split almost equally between "full stadium" (14 percent) and "limited capacity" (13 percent), with the remaining 21 percent indicating they were unsure whether they would attend.

Overall, men were somewhat more likely to support the idea of attending games; 42 percent of males said they would not attend a game yet, while 60 percent of females said it's still too soon. 

The "yes, even if the stadium is full" crowd was remarkably consistent across all age groups, with 14 to 16 percent of every age group selecting that option. Outside of that option, older respondents were more leery of attending sporting events, with 64 percent of those over 65 declining to attend, as opposed to 41 percent of those in groups 44 and under. 

Sharp divergences were also apparent in the choice of 2020 presidential candidate; only 6 percent of Biden voters would be willing to attend games in full stadiums, while 31 percent of Trump voters would be. And 77 percent of Biden voters said it is too soon to attend games; less than half that number, 34 percent, of Trump voters believe it's too early. 

Vaccination remains the very definition of a divisive issue. Asked whether vaccination should be a requirement to attend sporting events, 51 percent of respondents said yes, 49 percent said no. 

The responses changed by age, with "Yes" voices becoming more numerous the older the respondent segment. Fully 60 percent of respondents age 65 and over believe vaccinations should be required for sporting events. 

Again, there's a sharp divide by 2020 voting preference. Among Biden voters, 84 percent believe vaccinations should be required, while only 24 percent of Trump voters feel the same way. 

Pandemic or no, crowds are being invited back into stadiums. The Texas Rangers intend to begin the baseball season with a full house, and the NFL said earlier this week that it plans to have stadiums at capacity by the fall. Other teams are implementing phased rollouts of fans at a lower percentage of overall capacity, depending on local regulations. 

The poll was part of an overall online survey on vaccination conducted by YouGov for Yahoo News from March 22-25. A pool of 1,606 representationally diverse respondents were asked two questions: "Should vaccination be a requirement to attend sporting events?" (Yes/No), and "Will you attend a sporting event with fans in attendance?" (Yes with a full stadium, Yes with limited capacity, No, and Not Sure). The overall survey had a margin of error of ± 2.7 percent.

Socially distanced fans at a spring training game. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Socially distanced fans at a spring training game. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.

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