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Few sports fans willing to watch games in person: poll

Last Updated May 7, 2020 at 10:20 pm PDT

Summary

Most sports fans would love to watch a professional match played in empty arenas, says Angus Reid poll

25 per cent of avid sports fans say there is no way they would go and sit in a crowd in October and November

About one-third of Canadians surveyed say watching athletes play without fans would be great

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — While most sports fans would love to watch a professional match, few are willing to attend a game in person this fall, even if allowed.

A new poll from the Angus Reid Institute, released Thursday, finds 25 per cent of avid sports fans say there is no way they would go and sit in a crowd in October and November.

Among hard-core fans, approximately one-in-three say playing games in empty arenas is “great”, while more than half say it’s fine and “better than nothing.”

About one-third of Canadians surveyed say watching athletes play without fans would be great, and more than half say it would be better than nothing.

Those surveyed missed hockey the most. About a third miss baseball and basketball.

Meanwhile, the poll finds golf generates the largest generational gap — Canadians 55 and over are twice as likely as their younger counterparts to say they miss watching the PGA.

While Canadians are equally likely to say they would be disappointed with the cancellation of either the upcoming CFL or the NFL seasons — the loss of games in Canada would sting the most in the Prairies, where three in five residents say they would be upset.

The provincial government maintained its ban on gatherings of 50 people or more Wednesday as it rolled out a four-phase plan aimed at suppressing the transmission of COVID-19 while trying to reopen part of the economy.

Live sporting events were part of the fourth phase, to be discussed further in the fall.