ESPN Survey Finds Fans Want Sports Back on TV

Increased comfort with empty stands during games

A new survey from ESPN found that sports fans can’t wait for sports to return to television.

In the study, 59% said they can’t wait to see sports back on television and plan to watch as much as they can. That’s up from 56% in April, when ESPN conducted a similar study.

More fans are in favor of professional and college sports resuming without fans in arenas. In the new survey, 78% said the support resuming without fans attending, up from 68% in April. Only 22% oppose playing games in empty stadiums.

And absence appears to make the fans hearts from fonder. ESPN found that 64% of fans surveyed found the prolonged suspension of live sports had driven greater appreciation for them. Among avid fans, it was 84%.

“The insights we’ve gathered from fans tell us that the value and power of live sports has only grown stronger,” said Laura Gentile, senior VP 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.”

ESPN on Monday is launching a new commercial promoting the return of live sports.

The ESPN study was conducted by Global Strategy Group, which surveyed 1,003 sports fans ages 18 and up from June 23-26.