Friday, November 16, 2012

Baseball is more popular than football.

Just watching a report on TV about the increasing problem of extreme injuries in the sport of US Football.

At one point they referred to football in a way that is very common: "the most popular sport in the US."

I've always had a problem with this claim, let me tell you why.

Disclaimer: This is a quick and dirty analysis of numbers I quickly dug up on the net. The data might benefit from fine-tuning, but I believe the underlying conclusion has validity.

Let's start with football.

There are 32 teams in the NFL. Each team plays 8 home games. According to wikipedia the average stadium size is about 70,000. If we assume that every game is a sellout then football sells almost 18 million tickets in a season (17,920,000).


There are 30 teams. They each play 81 home games. The average ballpark seats 43,000. Again assuming sellouts then baseball sells over 104 million tickets in a season (104,490,000).

That makes baseball almost 6 times as popular as football.



Now I realize most baseball teams don't sellout their parks. I'm thinking that maybe some football teams don't either. So what kind of numbers can we find for this.

According to ESPN's 2012 attendance numbers. Football averaged 96% turnout. Baseball averaged 72%.



Do the math and that makes football's tickets sold 17,167,360, compared to baseball's 74,710,350. That makes baseball over 4 times as popular as football.

OK so this is a pretty quick-and-dirty analysis. And if it was close I'd wonder what a more diligent comparison might show.

But it's not even close. Baseball is the most popular sport in America.

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