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Seton Hall Sports Poll: Americans Not Yet Ready for Full Capacity Events  

But 'Comfort' Attending Events with Social Distancing, PPE and Vaccines Continue Trend Upward

Only 35% of Public Supports Texas Rangers Decision to Open at Full Capacity

Umpire observing Baseball ScoreboardSouth Orange, NJ, April 28, 2021 – The Seton Hall Sports Poll asked Americans if they would be comfortable attending a full-capacity outdoor stadium event of any type, only 37 percent said yes, a number which rose to 46 percent among sports fans and 58 percent among avid fans. The same question about attending indoor events found just 33 percent of the general public saying they would be comfortable, which increased to 43 percent among sports fans and 57 percent among avid fans.

By contrast, when asked if they would attend a sporting event with personal protection equipment, social distancing measures and restricted attendance, 50 percent of the general population said "yes" to outdoor events and 42 percent said "yes" to indoor events.

These were the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted April 23-26 geographically spread across the United States using a national representative sample weighted according to gender, age, ethnicity, education, income and geography, based on U.S. Census Bureau figures. The Poll had 1,563 adult respondents with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Seton Hall Sports Poll has regularly asked the public whether they would be comfortable attending sporting events if they had access to a vaccine, personal protection equipment and social distancing measures were observed at the venue.

When the question was first asked in April 2020, (combining indoor and outdoor events), only 13 percent said they would feel safe, with 12 percent saying "safe with social distancing." Seventy-two percent said they would not feel safe "at all," a number which today is only 32 percent for outdoors and 38 percent for indoor events with precautions.

"In the course of one year, we've gone from 72 percent saying they would not feel safe or comfortable at a sporting event under pretty much any circumstances, down to 32 percent saying they would not feel safe attending an outdoor event and 38 percent feeling the same about indoor events," said Seton Hall Marketing Professor and Poll Methodologist Daniel Ladik. "The public may not be ready yet for full capacity, but the reluctance to attend events with precautions in place has dropped considerably over the course of the last year – a 40 point drop is substantial by anyone's measure."

Question response charted over time: If you were to receive the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, would you attend…A live outdoor sporting event in-person, with personal protection equipment (PPE), social distancing measures, and restricted attendance?

Texas Rangers Baseball Team Allows Full Capacity, American Public Disagrees

Only a little more than a third of the American general public – 35 percent – agrees with the Texas Rangers' decision to open their ballpark to full capacity, with 46 percent in disagreement (19 percent did not know or had no opinion).

The number of those who agree with the Rangers' decision rises among those who consider themselves sports fans to 44 percent while 42 percent oppose it. Among those who describe themselves as "avid fans," 57 percent support the decision, and 34 percent oppose it.

Besides Opening Day, the Rangers have played to one other near sell-out crowd this month. This is the first year in which their new ballpark (Globe Life Field) is open to fans.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, theses numbers essentially reverse when we look at citizens within the state of Texas itself. While the sample size is quite small (110 respondents, seven percent of total polled), Texans supported the full capacity decision by a 48-36 percent margin.

Full Capacity Elsewhere?

Participants in the poll were also asked if other Major League Baseball teams should allow full capacity attendance, and by a similar margin (49-34 percent opposed, 17 percent undecided), the findings mirrored the Rangers result.

"Unrealized capacity in stadiums equals unrealized revenue for teams – but the data clearly shows that the public remains cautious," said Professor Charles Grantham, Director of the Center for Sport Management within the Stillman School of Business, which oversees the Seton Hall Sports Poll. "We all want to return to full capacity events, but precautions are still warranted."

Questions and charted breakdowns may be found in an online version of this release may by clicking here.

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