Here are some interesting stats speaking to the NFL’s dominance (from Ravens press release):
For more than four decades, according to the Harris Poll, the NFL has been the most popular sport in America. In its most recent survey (released January, 2009), Harris –the pioneer in market research– reveals that pro football is the favorite sport of more people (31%) than the combined total of the next three professional sports – baseball (16), auto racing (8) and men’s pro basketball.
In addition, professional football has gained in popularity more than any other sport since 1985 with a 7 percent increase in popularity over those 2 decades (from 24 to 31 percent). Pro football moved ahead of baseball as the fans’ favorite for the 1st time in 1965.
The NFL has been acknowledged as America’s most popular sport for the past 44 years, rated No. 1 by fans in the Harris Poll since 1965. In fact, for the 6th consecutive year, nearly twice as many people name professional football (31 percent) as their favorite sport over baseball (16 percent).
NFL popularity can be measured in other ways as well. For instance:
- 225 million Americans watched NFL games during the 2008 regular season – nearly 100 million more than the record number of Americans who voted in the 2008 presidential election (131.2 million).
- Super Bowl XLIII was watched by 38.3 million women – the most watched show among women in 15 years (38.6 million watched the 1994 Winter Olympic figure skating competition featuring Nancy Kerrigan on Feb. 25, 1994).
- The NFL accounts for 7 of the 10 most-popular teams in terms of sports merchandise owned in the U.S