The most recent Sports Poll, which featured questions on attitudes about baseball and the prospect of widespread legalized sports betting was featured by ESPN, USA Today, MSN, Legal Sports Report and the Star Ledger.
The poll, which is sponsored by the Stillman School of Business and its Sharkey Institute, queried the public regarding these issues and found that by a nearly 2 to 1 margin Americans thought that recent rule changes in baseball that limit the number of visits to the pitching mound would make the game "feel faster." However, 53% said they thought baseball games took too long, with just 40% disagreeing. USA Today featured these results and a quote from the poll's director, Rick Gentile, in its "Notable Numbers" feature on the front page of the Sports section.
The poll also found that interest in baseball among millennials was down, with MSN and ESPN writing about that aspect of the poll.
MSN noted that:
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been on a mission to change the game to gain the interest of young fans. However, it does not appear to be working.
According to a recent poll by Seton Hall University, 22.7 percent of 18-to-29 year-olds have become less interested in baseball. At the same time, only 5.4 percent became more interested in the MLB product.
Likewise, Darren Rovell of ESPN tweeted to his 2 million plus followers the results: The @HallSportsPoll asked 18- to 29-year-olds to describe their feeling towards MLB as compared to the past. 66.6% said it was the same 22.7% said they were less interested 5.4% said they were more interested 5.3% said they didn't know.
With regard to the prospect of more widespread legalized sports betting (the U.S. Supreme Court will soon render a decision that could make it legal) the poll found that people favored sports betting by 20 pts. (55% – 35%) and found that people favored control of the matter in states hands (as opposed to the federal government) by an even greater margin: 62% said sports gambling should be under state control, with 27% saying the federal government should control it.
Perhaps most surprising, however, was that despite the fact that people favored legalized sports betting, they also believed that it would impact the integrity of the games:
…by a margin of 48% – 42%, those same respondents feel that legalized betting would negatively impact the integrity of sporting events. Even among those favoring legalized gambling, one of three believes that it would have a negative impact.
"It's outrageous when you think about it," noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute. "It comes close to saying 'We don't care about the legitimacy of the games, what matters is being able to bet on them. A majority favors gambling, and by a slimmer margin think the games might be fixed as a result."
The Star Ledger, ESPN, Calvin Ayre, Legal Sports Report and Casino.org all wrote about the sports betting poll results.
- USA Today, "Notable Numbers"
- MSN, "Poll Reveals Millennial Interest in MLB is Still Decreasing"
- ESPN, Darren Rovell
- Star Ledger, "What Americans think about legalizing sports betting as Jersey waits for it"
- ESPN, David Payne Purdum
- Legal Sports Report, "Poll: Majority Favors Legal Sports Betting, But Nearly Half Say Wagering Would Hurt Game Integrity"
- Calvin Ayre, "Poll: Americans want states, not feds, to control sports betting"
- Casino.org "Majority of Americans Favor Legal Sports Betting Despite Possible Integrity Issues, Says Poll"
- Casino.org "New Jersey Sports Betting Bill Sets Regulatory Framework, Includes 'Integrity Fee'"