The majority of citizens declare themselves to be sports fans without specifying which one. According to a Morning Consult survey, six out of ten Americans (60%) say they follow sports in general. Twenty-one percent call themselves "avid fans," while 39% say they are "casual fans."
In the United States, there is one sports league that captivates fans more than the rest: the NFL. One-third of respondents (32%) follow the regular season closely, which begins in early September and concludes in early January. Thirty percent follow the sport more casually. Fans of each of the league's 32 franchises enjoy the passion and intensity on display from some of the world's finest athletes.
In addition, the NFL has a great incentive on its hands that helps to establish it as the nation's favorite league: the Super Bowl. This sporting event has an impressive reach not only nationally, but also worldwide, which increases the number of followers. This year, the Kansas City Chiefs won the Vince Lombardi Trophy by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
NBA and MLB round out the podium
Next on the list with the largest number of diehard fans is the NBA. Two out of ten citizens (20%) describe themselves as avid fans of the best basketball league in the world. They are joined by 27% who say they like to watch and follow the sport from time to time.
Each of the 30 franchises play a total of 82 games in the regular season, where they seek to qualify for the playoffs and fight for the coveted Larry O'Brien Trophy. The 2022-2023 season will be remembered for LeBron James being crowned the NBA's all-time leading scorer. It was also the year in which the largest team sale in history was closed, Matt Ishbia's purchase of the Phoenix Suns for $4 billion.
Coming in third at the podium is the MLB. Nineteen percent of those surveyed by Morning Consult stated that they are passionate fans of the world's premier baseball league, compared to 30% who follow the sport only casually.
The MLB is composed of 30 teams divided into two leagues (American and National). Teams seek to qualify for the Championship Series of each of the two leagues and qualify for the World Series. This is MLB's 120th season. With 27 titles to their credit, the New York Yankees are the most historically dominant team in the league.
Enthusiasm for college sports
The United States has long been a pioneer in rewarding talented athletes. To this end, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was founded in the early 20th century to support young athletes. Made up of 1,281 institutions and organizations, it manages and oversees college sports competitions such as football and basketball, which have a large fan base.
Nineteen percent of those surveyed declared themselves to be staunch followers of the NCAA football, which is made up of three divisions and from which the next great quarterbacks, receivers or running backs emerge. The defending champions are the Georgia Bulldogs.
The NCAA Basketball Championship also has a large fan base. Fourteen percent defined themselves as a big fans of the three men's and three women's college basketball divisions.
In sixth place were fighting sports such as boxing, taekwondo and other martial arts, with 13% of fans. Next was the NHL (11%), motorsports (10%), soccer (9%), golf (8%), tennis (7%), e-sports (7%) and horse racing (6%).