As professional sports return to full-capacity events, a new survey from Nielsen has found that fans support continued social distancing at stadiums and arenas.
To find out fans’ comfortability in returning to stadiums based on the coming NBA, NFL and MLS seasons, Nielsen Sports conducted a Fan Insights survey with U.S. sports fans about their willingness to attend sporting events. To gauge their comfort level, Nielsen asked if fans are ready to attend; will be ready to attend in one-five months; or think it will take six or more months.
Nielsen also grouped the respondents into four categories: sports fans, NFL fans, NBA fans and MLS fans. The survey was conducted between April and June, so respondents responding in the one-five month range fits with the start dates for the NFL and NBA seasons.
From a fan perspective, an overwhelming majority are ready to see live sports again. At the time of the survey, 80 percent of sports fans said they’d be ready to attend a live event at an outside stadium within five months, while 79 percent said they’d be ready to attend a live event at an inside stadium in the same time frame, well above the 26 percent who were ready to attend between April and June.
Despite fans' eagerness to get back to live sports, they're still hoping venues will implement social distancing and mask requirements.
Roughly two in five sports fans believe it’s essential that venues have updated cleaning regulations and policies (45 percent), provide hand sanitizers or antibacterial items (44 percent), and enforce safety protocols (43 percent) for them to consider returning. Providing a safer fan environment than before (47 percent), enforcing social distancing (46 percent) and having additional medical personnel (46 percent) are also nice to have.
The full results of the survey, with a breakdown by sport, can be seen here.