The sports world has been at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic for roughly a month, and despite the widespread eagerness to restart games, a majority of Americans in a recent poll would not attend sporting events in person just yet.
A whopping 72% of Americans polled said they would not attend sporting events should they resume soon without a vaccine for the coronavirus. The poll, which had a fairly small sample size of 762 respondents, was released Thursday by Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business.
When polling respondents who identified as sports fans, 61% said they would not go to the game without a vaccine. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.6%.
Only 12% of all respondents said they would go to games if social distancing could be maintained, which would likely lead to a highly reduced number of fans, staff and media at games. For example, fan capacity for a Los Angeles Lakers or LA Clippers game at Staples Center is around 19,000.
The poll shows that the coronavirus pandemic would affect sports for the foreseeable future, even if some resume.
Just 13% of Americans said they would feel comfortable attending games again the way they had in the past.
“This virus has the attention and respect of the nation,” said Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll. “Those who identify as sports fans, at all levels of interest, line up closely with the general population in regard to their own safety and that of the players.”
Unfortunately, there might not be a coronavirus vaccine until 2021, according to medical experts.
A compromise could be found in having games with no fans, an idea that garnered sufficient support. More than three-fourths — 76% — said they would watch broadcasts of games without fans and do so with the same amount of interest they had before the pandemic. Only 16% said they would be less interested, but 7% said they would be more interested.
Though there has been discussion of games without spectators, nearly half of respondents — 46% — said they think sports will be canceled through the end of 2020.