Happy New Year and welcome to the 60 Minutes/ Vanity Fair poll for January 2014. This month's poll centers on sports in America. What is it about America's fascination with sports? The word fan is short for fanatic, and some people think that sports in our society might be changing from a national pastime to a national obsession. The revenue that sports generates has fueled a large rise in 24/7 media attention and coverage, and with that comes the inevitable excesses and scandals that are all too familiar. But sports also builds bridges and is a big part of America's cultural DNA. Over 100 million people from all walks of life gathered together to watch the Super Bowl on CBS last year. It is something that we can all talk about.
In the end we love sports not just for the exciting games we watch, but also
for the compelling human stories that go along with them. Telling those stories
is one of the reasons 60 Minutes
now produces 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime. Whether you're a casual fan or a true fanatic, we are interested in
your answers to our questions. And now the results of our poll...
Comfort Zone Fifty-five percent of Americans would rather watch their favorite sport
from the comfort of home. Thirty-five percent would rather be there in person
to hear the roar of the crowd and experience first-hand " the thrill of victory
or the agony of defeat." Ten percent said they don't watch sports. It is
said that being there is twice the fun, and more than half of those under 35
would rather catch the action live, however that does not appear to hold true
as people get older, two out of three of those over 55 would rather stay home
Goal To Go
If they could attend only one major sporting event in their lifetime, 35 percent of Americans would go to the Super Bowl. Nine percent have a goal of attending the World Cup, seven percent would race to see the Monaco Grand Prix, and five percent would drive a fair way to watch the Masters in person.
But the gold medal, with 38 percent goes to the granddaddy of all sporting events, the Olympic Games. It's pretty hard to compete with a history that dates back to circa 776 BC and was said to be created on the advice of the Oracle at Delphi in order to stop eternal wars and devastating plagues.
Money well-spent? An overwhelming number of Americans (84 percent) say they are not swayed
to buy products or brands that are endorsed by professional athletes that they
admire. Eleven percent said are more likely to buy those products and five
percent say they are less likely. So why do companies spend so much paying
athletes to endorse their brands? Maybe because 21 percent of those under the
age of 30 say they are more likely to follow the advice of their sports idols,
that's a pretty lucrative slice of the market.
Sports Scandals The two sports where Americans think the most cheating occurs are boxing
(21 percent) and horse racing (18 percent). It's probably because of their long
and checkered histories of shady characters throwing fights and fixing races (or
is it fixing fights and throwing races?). In football (16 percent), baseball
(14 percent), cycling (13 percent) and track and field (three percent),
cheating usually means doping or using banned substances like steroids. After
enduring baseball's steroid era and plenty of other scandals where cheaters
evaded punishment for years, one of the sad truths in today's world of sports
is that no one can be sure that the result of any given contest is ever 100
Arch-Enemy Remember the old adage "everybody loves a winner"? Well that
may be true if it's your hometown team, but past winners like the Yankees 16
percent, Miami Heat 14 percent, Patriots 13 percent, Red Sox nine percent,
Alabama Crimson Tide eight percent, and the Duke Blue Devils six percent are
disliked elsewhere. Many people tend to dislike their home team's arch rival
but far from everyone, 34 percent could not think of any team they disliked, a
nice nod to civility among fans.
From the list of sports provided, one out of four Americans think that football has the highest percentage of players that are jerks. Twenty-two percent chose basketball followed by hockey 15 percent, NASCAR nine percent, polo five percent, lacrosse four percent and horse racing 4 percent. Fourteen percent did not know. Sports is a microcosm of life, there are plenty of jerks to go around. In the everyday world most of them get little notice but in the world of sports where there is constant attention and coverage, a much higher percentage of complete jerks are bound to be exposed.