Which sports are most watched in the United States?  Does interest in sports differ in the four regions of the country?

The Center’s Sport Fan Behavioral Study found:

  • Among those who follow at least one sport in season, the most popular by far is NFL football, with 78% of people saying they watch the sport.
  • The popularity of NFL football is followed by baseball (51%), NBA basketball (44%), college football (44%), the Olympics (34%), college basketball (32%), boxing (20%), ice hockey (20%), NASCAR (19%), tennis (16%), golf (16%), and the Winter X Games (16%).

How popular are each of these sports in different parts of the country?

  • NFL football is generally equally popular in all regions (Northeast-78%, South-76%, Midwest-79%, West-77%).
  • Baseball is watched most in the Northeast and least in the South (Northeast-66%, South-40%, Midwest-55%, West-50%).
  • NBA basketball is followed slightly more in the West than elsewhere, and the least in the Northeast (Northeast-40%, South-45%, Midwest-44%, West-48%).
  • The following of College football is strongest in the South and the Midwest (Northeast-35%, South-50%, Midwest-48%, West-40%).
  • The Olympics are watched by similar percentages in every region (Northeast-32%, South-33%, Midwest-35%, West-35%).
  • College basketball is most in demand in the Midwest (Northeast-28%, South-34%, Midwest-38%, West-25%).
  • Boxing is most favored in the Northeast and least in the Midwest (Northeast-24%, South-21%, Midwest-15%, West-19%).
  • The popularity of ice hockey is greatest in the Northeast and lowest in the South (Northeast-36%, South-13%, Midwest-21%, West-19%).
  • NACSAR is most watched in the South and Midwest (Northeast-16%, South-21%, Midwest-22%, West-15%).
  • Tennis is least in demand in the Midwest (Northeast-24%, South-21%, Midwest-15%, West-19%).
  • Golf is by a small degree most watched in the Northeast (Northeast-19%, South-15%, Midwest-14%, West-17%).
  • The Winter X Games are most in vogue in the West (Northeast-16%, South-14%, Midwest-16%, West-19%).


See all Web Insights.

October 31, 2017