Most Americans say they won’t go to games without a coronavirus vaccine

April 11, 2020
Coronavirus sports attendance

The PGA Tour hopes to return to play this year, but it might not be in front of many fans.

Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans said they would not attend games before a coronavirus vaccine is developed, according to a poll released by Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business. The poll surveyed 762 people across the country from April 6-8, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent.

When asked “if sports were to resume play later this year before a vaccine for coronavirus is developed would you feel safe attending a game, only if there was restricted attendance and social distancing, or not at all,” 72 percent of people said “not at all.” Thirteen percent of people said they would feel safe, and 12 percent said they would feel safe but only if there was social distancing. Among those who responded who said they were sports fans, 61 percent said they would not attend games without a vaccine.

Nearly 75 percent of Americans believed there might not be sports to watch at all. When asked how likely the possibility is that sports are canceled through the end of 2020, 46 percent said it was possible, 16 percent said it was likely, and 12 percent said it was very likely.

The PGA Tour’s hiatus due to the coronavirus is scheduled to end with the Charles Schwab Challenge on May 21. A memo sent to players this week, however, said it was unlikely play would resume that soon and that events could be played “with or without fans.”

Fanless broadcasts of sports would still have appeal. According to the poll, 76 percent of respondents said their interest in those would be the same as it was during broadcasts before the coronavirus, and 7 percent said they would be more interested.

The PGA Tour hasn’t played a round since the Players Championship first round on March 12, and a large majority of people in the survey agreed with the timing of the shutdown of sports. According to the poll, 76 percent of people said sports did shut down at the right time, with 16 percent saying not quickly enough and 6 percent saying too quickly.

“This virus has the attention and respect of the nation,” said Rick Gentile, director of the poll, in a release. “Those who identify as sports fans, at all levels of interest, line up closely with the general population in regard to their own safety and that of the players.”

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