Hockey Sixth Among Americans’ Favorite Sports in Harris Poll

It is often thought by many people who follow the NHL in the United States that hockey – for people in this country – is either a sport that you completely immerse yourself into, or follow as an outsider every once in a while. There’s not a lot of in-between, “casual” fans. Well, it seems that the people following hockey devoutly is continually increasing in the US.

According to a Harris poll, the results of which were published by Sports Business Daily (reg. required), hockey is the favorite sport among 5% of U.S. fans, placing sixth. The game finished behind pro football (31%), baseball (17%), college football (12%), auto racing (7%), and men’s pro basketball (6%), all of which are sports you’d probably agree are more popular and have more diehards.

The sport did, however, finish above sports like men’s soccer (4%), men’s college basketball (4%), men’s golf (2%), men’s tennis (2%), boxing (1%) and women’s tennis (1%), all sports which can occasionally, and in college basketball’s case almost exclusively, draw higher television ratings than hockey. Note that there apparently was not an option given for college hockey as there was for basketball and football.

Hockey’s place in the poll is up 1% over 2009, even with 2008, up 2% from when the poll was taken in 1998, and up 3% from the poll’s inaugural year in 1985. Other than football, no sport has shown as much sustained growth in the Harris poll, though basketball was as high as 13% (a 7% growth from it’s spot in the 1985 poll) in the Jordan heyday of 1998. That said, it’s encouraging to see slow, but steady growth for the sport.

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One Response to Hockey Sixth Among Americans’ Favorite Sports in Harris Poll

  1. jlurevisited says:

    Being above NCAA basketball is surprising, given the saturation of hoops on ESPN.

    That soccer number seems, off the top of my head, soft. I wonder what it would be like if we weren’t less than eight months removed from the World Cup.

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