Almost six out of ten (59%) American adults watch NFL games, with men 25 to 54 years old watching games the most (74-86% watch), compared to under half of women 18 to 24 and 45 and up.

Of those who watch NFL games (n=607), 46% are very or completely satisfied with the National Football League, though satisfaction declines with age, dropping from 59% of 25-34-year-olds to 31% of seniors. One trouble spot for the NFL: only 30% of 18-24-year-olds are very or completely satisfied.

What drives overall satisfaction? NFL’s handling of off-field issues has the highest correlation to overall satisfaction (35% of shared variance), followed by players’ observance of the rules (29%), and treatment of local markets (27%). While satisfaction is highest with the entertainment value of the games, that has the least impact on overall satisfaction. Seniors are less satisfied with most aspects of the NFL, but their low satisfaction with the NFL’s handling of off-field issues (19%, vs. 52% for 25-34-year-olds) seems to be the key driver behind their low satisfaction with the NFL in general.

The rules of the game in general are one of the third lowest drivers of overall satisfaction. Consistency of the rules has the highest correlation to rules satisfaction (47% of shared variance), followed by thoroughness of the rules (45%), and obviousness of the rules (44%). Satisfaction with the rules regarding pass interference was the least significant driver. Seniors are less satisfied with all six rules areas, but this is most likely to be a horn effect from their general dissatisfaction with the league.

People aren’t really very superstitious about their effect on games:

  • Few NFL fans (12%) are very or completely paranoid that their actions at home before watching a game might affect the team they are rooting for.
  • One out of ten (10%) are very or completely afraid that starting or stopping a behavior at home while watching a game can impact their team.
  • Almost as many (9%) are very or completely fearful that a companion’s behavior watching a game can influence their team.
  • For more on superstitions, see the free report Sports Superstitions & The Big Game: How American Fans Believe They Influence Their Team’s Chances.

For more on this study, check out the slides for additional details, including the methodology.

Author Notes:

Jeffrey Henning

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Jeffrey Henning, IPC is a professionally certified researcher and has personally conducted over 1,400 survey research projects. Jeffrey is a member of the Insights Association and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers. In 2012, he was the inaugural winner of the MRA’s Impact award, which “recognizes an industry professional, team or organization that has demonstrated tremendous vision, leadership, and innovation, within the past year, that has led to advances in the marketing research profession.” In 2022, the Insights Association named him an IPC Laureate. Before founding Researchscape in 2012, Jeffrey co-founded Perseus Development Corporation in 1993, which introduced the first web-survey software, and Vovici in 2006, which pioneered the enterprise-feedback management category. A 35-year veteran of the research industry, he began his career as an industry analyst for an Inc. 500 research firm.