The NFL has been recognized as America’s most popular sport for the past 47 years, rated No. 1 by fans in The Harris Poll since 1965. In addition, more people named professional football (34 percent) as their favorite sport than the combined total of the next three professional sports – baseball (16), auto racing (8) and men’s pro basketball (7).
The number of fans choosing the NFL as their favorite sport has risen 7 percent during the past 10 years (27 percent in 2002) – the largest increase of any sport during that span.
Pro football moved ahead of baseball as the fans’ favorite for the first time in 1965. Following are the five most popular sports according The Harris Poll:
- Pro football 34 percent
- Baseball 16 percent
- College football 11 percent
- Auto racing 8 percent
- Men's pro basketball 7 percent