The Power of Live Sports: Pent Up Passion and Demand Growing Among Fans, According to Latest ESPN Fan Study

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The Power of Live Sports: Pent Up Passion and Demand Growing Among Fans, According to Latest ESPN Fan Study

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Increased Support for Resuming Live Sports without Spectators, Greater Appreciation for Sports during Absence

New ‘There’s No Place Like Sports’ Spot Heralds the Return of Sports

ESPN today shared findings from the second wave of its “ESPN Coronavirus Lockdown Fan Study.” The nationwide survey** of 1,003 sports fans ages 18+, fielded from June 23-26, was conducted to explore the latest perceptions around the pandemic and its impact on sports moving forward. With MLS, NWSL, and UFC underway and MLB, the NBA and WNBA, NHL, U.S. Open tennis and more on the horizon, ESPN today has also released a new “There’s No Place Like Sports” spot to herald the return of live sports.

“The insights we’ve gathered from fans tell us that the value and power of live sports has only grown stronger,” said Laura Gentile, SVP of Consumer Marketing, ESPN. “Never have so many sports collided at once. ESPN is, quite literally, the best seat in the house and the only place to catch it all. Pull up a couch! We’re back with the very best live sports and true to our mission we will continue to serve fans every step of the way.”

Among all fans surveyed in the study:

  • 78 percent support professional and collegiate sports leagues resuming without fans in attendance, a double-digit increase from results in the first wave (68 percent) and three times as many as those that oppose it (22 percent).
  • 59 percent say that they can’t wait to see sports back on television and plan to watch as much as they can (up from 56 percent in April).
  • 64 percent say the prolonged suspension of live sports has driven greater appreciation for them. Among avid fans, 84 percent feel the same.

The latestThere’s No Place Like Sports spot released today captures the inspiring spirit of sports while demonstrating its unifying power. Since the launch of the brand campaign in September, “There’s No Place Like Sports” has focused on the universal themes and the human stories that exist in sports – and the role ESPN plays in telling those stories.

**ESPN Research & Insights commissioned the nationwide survey with Global Strategy Group following its initial benchmark conducted in April 2020, with additional waves scheduled over the next few months to continue monitoring and tracking any important shifts in fan sentiment. For the purpose of this analysis, “avid sports fans” are defined as anyone who characterizes themselves as an 8, 9, or 10 on a 0-10 sports fandom scale.

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Kristie Adler

Kristie is Director of Communications for ESPN's Digital, Distribution, Strategy, Business Development, Sales, Marketing and Research divisions. She graduated from Penn State University and is based in New York City.
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