Professional football is, by far, Americans’ most-watched or followed sport: nearly half (48%) of Americans who watch college or professional sports at least a few times a year say professional football is the sport they follow most closely, while around 1-in-10 say the same of college football (12%) or professional basketball (11%). Less than 1-in-10 report that they follow major league baseball (7%) or college basketball (6%) most closely.

Most Americans (55%) say that football has replaced baseball as America’s national sport, while more than one-third (36%) disagree.

God on the Field

Americans are less likely to believe that God plays a role in the outcome of sporting events than they are to believe God rewards religious athletes. While only about 3-in-10 (27%) Americans, believe that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, a majority (53%) believe that God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success, compared to 42% who disagree. There are substantial differences by religious affiliation on all of these questions.

Majorities of all religious groups disagree that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, but there are differences in intensity. Roughly 4-in-10 minority Christians (40%) and white evangelical Protestants (38%) agree that God does play a role in the outcome of a sporting event, compared to less than 3-in-10 (29%) Catholics, less than 1-in-5 (19%) white mainline Protestants, and approximately 1-in-10 (12%) religiously unaffiliated Americans.