Surveys by Publications:
Footwear Insight Textile Insight Outdoor Insight
Consumer Survey
Consumer Q&A 1
Consumer Q&A 2

Understanding the Modern Sports Fan

When it comes to their attitudes as sports fans, American consumers prefer pro sports over college and rate football as their top spectator sport. And, while millennials make (slightly) different choices when it comes to rooting for teams, athletes and buying tickets and merchandise than their older sports fan peers do, their similarities as sports fans are also evident. Millennials report being more likely to buy fan apparel or gear online and being more concerned with price than their older fans. Interacting with sports teams and athletes on social media is something fans of all ages say that they do, with 77 percent of those aged 20-34 and 73 percent of those aged 35-54 following sports accounts on either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Facebook is the most popular avenue among both age ranges. An interesting note: fans reported being faithful to hometown teams but open to rooting for favorite athletes from other teams. This could be a result of a favorite player being traded or of the numerous options that a mainstream athlete has to connect to fans beyond their local scene. See the charts on the facing page to drill down on details. And check out the verbatim replies on page 34 to see how fans answer the question of how they decide to root for specific teams.

The two panel research study consisted of one panel of 59 female and 33 male respondents aged 20-34 and one panel of 62 female and 41 male respondents aged 35-54. The respondents were selected from the general population.
How many items of apparel do you own that show allegiance to a favorite collegiate or professional sports team, or athlete?
I shop primarily for outdoor apparel and footwear at:
I shop primarily for outdoor apparel and footwear at:
Favorite sport to attend a game at the stadium / in person.
Favorite sport to view on TV
Do you follow any of your favorite sports teams or athletes on social media? (select all that apply)
Favorite sport to view on TV
Is your favorite professional sports team based in the area/region that you currently live?
Are you more a fan of major college team sports or of professional team sports?

The best thing about being a sports fan is…

The spirit of camaraderie between people of all different ages and background, for both players and fans.

The best sports fan supports the team in the winning season and the losing season. Dedication to the team is key to being a true fan.

I love watching the games and you can always find a friend who loves your team.

Going to the games with my dad and brother.

Sunday football.

Entertainment for the entire family. We all get decked out in our team gear and host a friend game party.

All the different products you can collect.

Being emotionally invested in something that is bigger than yourself with a diverse group of people.

Watching the sport in the comfort of your own home with good food and good people.

Being able to go to the games and watch them live.

Getting together with all my friends and family to support our favorite teams.

Learning everything about the team.

The best part of being a sports fan is being part of a larger community. I enjoy wearing my gear out of town and have random people come up to me and say they are a fan too.

The thrill and bonding with family.


You get to show off your love for the team and be proud.

Having a pleasant diversion from politics.

The rivalry between myself and other sports fans.

Attending games or feeling a part of the wins and loses.

Being a fan is one thing, but being part of a crowd watching your team play is the best experience one can have.  

Having a team or player to follow over time so you become familiar with the team or player.The excitement of going to a live game and enjoying the energy associated with that environment.

Feeling part of a larger community.

The best sports fan supports the team in the winning season and the losing season. Dedication to the team is key to being a true fan.

Identifying with a group. I actually met my husband in another country. I was wearing my team clothing and he came up to say hello!

Going to games.

All of the different types of fan apparel one can purchase and own; bowling balls, clothing, jewelry, etc.

Being a fan is one thing, but being part of a crowd watching your team play is the best experience one can have.  The camaraderie between persons that you don’t even know, coming together in celebrating of a common focus is so much fun!


The worst thing about being a sports fan is…

Not being able to afford tickets to good games.

The toxicity that group-think and the hive mind can bring forth - there are insults thrown around by angry fans that should not be wished upon anyone.

When your team loses.

I haven’t had any bad experiences being a fan of sports.


Crowds at stadiums, high ticket prices, front office decisions I don’t understand.

Having to deal with drunk idiots who don’t appreciate the sport.

Expensive tickets! We’ve wanted to take our children to a Chicago Bears game since they were born but the tickets are very pricey.

Not having enough of your teams products!

Watching your team lose.

Planning your schedule around games.

When other fans are bad sports.

Rude people.

Nothing. It’s a great thing in life to have something to be passionate about.


Limited availability of product.

The Yankees.

Colin Kaepernick not playing.

Unsportsmanlike conduct.

Being too poor to afford the high prices for tickets, apparel, merchandise, food at games.

Crowds at the stadium/parking/prices.

TV blackout dates, which means I can not watch my favorite baseball team when they play my local team.  And, I can’t watch and get to know my local team.

Watching players act like brats on the field.

Politics in sports.

Players being traded. Not making the playoffs. Team having bad years.

When fans take things too far and get too emotionally involved with their team.

The worst part of being a sports fan are the people that can’t be gracious in winning or defeat.

Rowdy fans.

Everything related is so overpriced.

The time commitment of seeing/watching events and keeping up with news.

The outside weather for games.

The cost of tickets.

It’s not all year round.

Lose interest during commercial breaks.


Parking and food prices.

The long lines.

The Yankees.