In new findings released Monday, Pew Research Center has found that “America’s favorite pastime” is no longer necessarily America’s favorite sport.

What the survey said

In a survey conducted in August 2023 of 12,000 U.S adults, participants were asked, “If you had to choose one sport as being ‘America’s sport,’ even if you don’t personally follow it, which sport would it be?” 

Responses overwhelmingly favored football at 53%. Baseball, falling out of the top spot, was next, at 27%. Following were basketball (8%), soccer (3%), auto racing (3%), hockey (1%) and everything else (2%).

Pew Research Center also reported from the survey that football was the common choice across every major demographic, which includes men and women, older and younger adults, white people, Black people, Hispanics and Asian Americans.

There were some differences among demographics on preferences, though. White Americans were more likely than other demographic groups to choose baseball. Hispanic Americans were more likely than other groups to say soccer. Black and Asian Americans were both more likely to think basketball was America’s favorite sport.

Football’s popularity

There is no question that football is wildly popular. In 2023, the average television viewership number for a regular-season NFL game was 17.9 million, according to Statista, the most since 2015, when there were 18.1 million viewers per game. In 2016, the numbers dropped heavily, but they have been on a steady rise since.

The NFL has also gotten a boost from megastar Taylor Swift. Since the start of her relationship with Travis Kelce and her first appearance at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, viewership and jersey sales have skyrocketed. Per Business Insider, sales of Kelce’s jersey jumped 400%. The New York Jets vs. Kansas City Chiefs game on Oct. 2 reached 29 million viewers. And viewership among girls aged 12 to 17 was up 53%.

Per The Athletic, last year’s Super Bowl drew a record 115.2 million viewers to Fox. With high excitement over the matchup between the Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers (and even higher excitement over the possibility Swift might be there), Yahoo Finance writes that over 200 million Americans plan to watch the Super Bowl this year.

Baseball in Utah

Utah leaders think there is a place for baseball in Utah.

A coalition of community leaders and elected officials, dubbed Big League Utah and led by the Larry H. Miller Company, is currently making a case for one of two possible MLB expansion teams, as previously reported by the Deseret News.

And more recently, the Utah House of Representatives passed a resolution that put government support behind the movement.

There are even talks that the Oakland A’s, who need a place to play until 2028 when they relocate to Las Vegas, might take up temporary residence in Salt Lake.