Sports fans were served a delectable feast of international events this summer, with the Ryder Cup, the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, and Euro 2020 soccer tournament all falling in the same year. With fall now in full swing, the baseball season entering its final innings, and the football season well underway, there couldn’t be a better excuse to visit your favorite sports bars — especially with so many now operating at full capacity. But are fans really returning in droves?
Based on the results of a recent VinePair survey, the answer seems to be no. From a pool of 779 VinePair Audience Panel members, 35 percent of respondents indicated they were visiting sports bars less often than in 2019, while 29.7 percent said they weren’t going at all. Just 9.2 percent of the panel stated that they were visiting sports bars more frequently than before the pandemic.
Survey results also showed the types of alcohol panelists drink at bars while watching sports, in 2019 and in 2021. And while hard seltzer seems to have stolen some of the drinking share, jumping from 8.9 percent to 13.2 percent, beer still reigns supreme at 67.2 percent in 2021.
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VinePair’s Audience Panel is made up of thousands of legal-drinking-age Americans who either count themselves as wine, beer, or spirits enthusiasts, or are members of the trade. The Fall Sports Bar Survey took place from Oct. 8-12, 2021.
The respondents also had the option to share some comments on how their sports watching habits had changed between now, last year, and before the pandemic.
Many of those now visiting bars less often said their sports viewing hadn’t decreased; it has simply shifted to taking place more at home or at friends’ houses, though some highlighted that they’d lost interest in sports in general.
The driving factor for fewer sports bar visits appears to be uncertainty about being in crowded spaces, and the unknown vaccination status of fellow guests. Multiple respondents noted that they would only visit sports bars if outdoor viewing was an option.
To join VinePair’s Audience Panel and participate in future surveys, head to the following link.