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Sports Fan Market: Survey Methodology

This consumer survey was conducted online for SBRnet in December 2020 among a representative panel of U.S. consumers age 13 or older. A total of 3,475 respondents completed the survey.

Each respondent reported on their viewership of specific professional and college sports during the previous 12 months. In addition, respondents also reported their participation in fantasy sports, gambling and eSports, usage of the most popular social media platforms, favorite sports teams, and demographics.

The data is weighted to represent the demographic composition of U.S. households on the following characteristics: geographic region, income, household size, age, gender, race and ethnicity. The data is also weighted to the U.S. population of 276.0 million individuals age 13 or older.

All Data based on the following definition

Attended or watched games/matches/races in the past 12 months for any of the following sports

Note: Attendance not asked in 2020 due to COVID-19

Each respondent reported on their attendance or viewership (on television, computer/laptop/netbook, tablet, or a smart phone) of 16 professional and college sports from2015 through the end of calendar year 2020. The age and gender of the respondent was obtained as well as the place of purchase, the amount spent on related sports apparel purchased, participation in sports, sponsorship influence, sports-related activities on computers and mobile devices, social media usage, and sports-related travel during the same time period.

The data is weighted to represent the demographic composition of the continental U.S. based households on the following five characteristics: geographic region, income, household size, age and gender.

Residents of Alaska and Hawaii were not included in this survey. The data is also weighted to the U.S. population of 261.9 million individuals age 13 or older.

The tables in this report show the demographic distribution of participants for each sport by geographic region. The states in the geographic regions are:

  • Northeast:
    • New England: CT, RI, MA, NH, VT, ME
    • Middle Atlantic: PA, NY, NJ
  • Midwest
    • East North Central: OH, MI, IN, IL, WI
    • West North Central: NE, IA, MN, ND, SD, KS, MO
  • South
    • South Atlantic: MD, DC, NC, SC, FL, GA, VA, WV, DE
    • East South Central: TN, KY, MS, AL
    • West South Central: OK, TX, LA, AR
  • West
    • Pacific: CA, OR, WA
    • Mountain: AZ, CO, NM, ID, UT, WY, MT, NV

Based on US Census Regions with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii

The Sporting Goods Market (Products): Survey Metholdology

This report presents projections of consumer purchases from an online survey conducted in each February among a representative panel of over 55,000 households. All products are based on purchases during the calendar year (January-December). Projections of sales were based on 118.7 million households.

The online consumer panel used in this study is maintained by TNS and other well regarded research panel providers. The panel is balanced to parallel the actual household distribution as reported by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, in five important characteristics: state of residence, household income, household size, age of household head, and population density. For example, 4.8% of the U.S. households live in New England, and 4.8% of the panel households live in New England.

Estimates of retail sales are shown for some products which were not included in the survey. These estimates are based on reliable published statistics where available. In other cases reliance was placed on knowledgeable industry sources.

The data showing percent of units purchased in each type of outlet is based only on the most recent purchase. The percentages are indicative of the relative unit and dollar sales by outlet type, but they do not represent the actual percent of units and dollars sold by each type. For certain products not surveyed in the current year, data from the last year the product was surveyed is shown instead. For example, baseballs/softballs were not surveyed in 2011, so the baseballs/softballs consumer purchases data presented on page 23 is from the 2010 report. The consumer survey questionnaire responses contain a substantial amount of detail not shown in this report. For example, the data contains brand share statistics and percent distribution of purchases by price point.

Because recent purchasers of 71 different products have been identified, follow-up studies among recent owners can easily be done on specific products. To obtain further market research information, contact either the National Sporting Goods Association or Irwin Broh Research.

Participation: Survey Metholdology

2020 Participation Data

All participation statistics are from a nationwide study conducted during the 2020 calendar year by Sports Marketing Surveys USA (SMS). Under the guidance of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) and seven other sports industry associations that make up the Physical Activity Council (PAC), the participation study was designed and launched by Digital Research (DRI). All other data is attributable to the SFIA/SMS research partnership.

Sample Specification

During 2020, a total of 18,000 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals from U.S. proprietary online panels representative of the U.S. population for people ages six and older. Strict quotas associated with gender, age, income, region, and ethnicity were followed to ensure a balanced sample.

The 2020 participation survey sample size of 18,000 completed interviews provides a high degree of statistical accuracy. All surveys are subject to some level of standard error - that is, the degree to which the results might differ from those obtained by a complete census of every person in the U.S. A sport with a participation rate of five percent has a confidence interval of plus or minus 0.32 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

A weighting technique was used to balance the data to reflect the total U.S. population ages six and above. The following variables were used: gender, age, income, ethnicity, household size, region, and population density. The total population figure used was 303,971,652 people age six and older.


It is important to note that in basing estimates of a population on a sample drawn from that population, a degree of sampling error is possible. While a number of biases can affect the extent of sampling error, it is to a great degree dependent on the size of the sample.

The larger the sample, the more closely the estimate represents the total population. Sampling error also affects samples of the same size. A sample drawn from a population will result in an estimate for a characteristic of the population, the proportion of archers for example. If another sample were drawn, it would be likely to include different members of the population. This would yield a slightly different estimate of the proportion of archers.

To allow judgments and decisions to be made with confidence when using samples, we can determine a confidence interval for the estimate.

A confidence interval is simply a range. A 95% confidence interval for the proportion of archers in the population is a range in which the estimates for the proportion of archers would fall 95% of the time, were the study to be done repeatedly. For example, in a particular year, the proportion of respondents who stated they participated in archery may be 2.3% (after weighting and projection). Thus, if we were to estimate the proportion of archers in the United States using 100 similar studies, 95 of those studies would yield an estimate within 95% confidence interval of 2.2%-2.4% (+/-0.1%) from the stated proportion.

The confidence interval for measurement of the proportion of participants in each sport in "Series I" does not exceed +/-1.0%.


B. Means & Medians

Following the frequency distribution, the total participant days and the mean and median number of participant days is reported for each sport. The mean (average) represents total participant days divided by total participants. The median represents the mid-point, i.e. 50% played more and 50% less than the median.

The number of participant days for certain sports should be divided by an estimate of the number of participants who play together on a team or in an event in order to calculate the number of games, matches, etc. played.