Sports Fans - Betting

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Sports Fans - Demographics

Sport fans demographics vary by sport in the U.S. We've profiled the three major sports in the country — with football, baseball, and basketball and their respective leagues (NFL, MLB, and NBA) showing vastly different statistics for age, gender, educational level, income level, and ethnicity.


  • 38% of men, and 26% of all women are interested in football in the U.S. When it comes to athletics, it's 31% for men and 28% for women, and for basketball it's 46% for men and 30% for women.
  • 84% of sports fans in the U.S. are interested in women's sports. Out of those, 51% are male.


  • For football, 55% of the population ages 16–24 are interested in football, same with 50% for ages 25–34, 29% for ages 35–44, 22% for ages 45–54, and 14% for ages 55–69.
  • 16% of football fans in the U.S. are low income earners, 44% are medium income earners, and 40% are high income earners.
  • 73% of American men and 55% of American women watch NFL games on television. The average NFL game viewer is 47 years old.
  • NFL fans age breakdown is as follows: 9% are under 17 years old, 20% are aged 18–34, 34% are aged 35–54, and 37% are over the age of 55.
  • 15% of NFL fans are black, 77% are white, and 8% are Hispanic.
  • 54% of the population in the U.S. who only have high school education, while 63% of college educated people in the U.S. are NFL fans.


  • The average MLB fan is 53 years old, with only 29% of MLB fans between the ages of 18 and 34. 23% of fans are aged 18–20, 25% are aged 21–34, 28% are aged 35–49, and 32% are aged 50–69.
  • 30% of the MLB fans are female, and 70% are male.
  • 83% of MLB fans are white, 9% are black, and 9% are Hispanic.
  • Baseball mostly attracts the high income earning households of over $170,000, with the lowest ratings recorded in low income households.
  • Education does not seem to play that big of a role in baseball, with most fans reporting to have higher education such as bachelor's or master's degree.


  • 70% of NBA fans are male, and 30% are female.
  • NBA fans age breakdown is as follows: 13% are under 17 years old, 32% are aged 18–34, 30% are aged 35–54, and 25% are over the age of 55.
  • 45% are black, 40% are white, and 12% are Hispanic.
  • 13% earn less than $20,000 a year, 21% earn between $20,000 and $40,000, 32% earn between $40,000 and $75,000, 15% earn between $75,000 and $100,000, and 18% earn over $100,000.
  • 52% of college graduates and 54% of postgraduates are fans of the NBA, with only 50% of high school only educated people being fans of the league.
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Sports Fans - Psychographics

While there was information specific and preexisting about sports fan personas, there wasn’t a lot of data in the public domain about how they talk about their love for sports and betting. Still, the research team was able to identify that there are six typical psychographics profiles present within the sports fan population in the United States. Those include Sharp Sam, Public Pete, Frat Boy Bobby, Leisure Len, and Will the Whale. Below is an outline of the research strategies used to better understand why the information requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a presentation of the findings.


  • Sharp Sam is a professional better who is a long-term winner and who went from a fan to betting with a desire to manipulate the lines and try to bluff his way into big wins. Sharp Sam bets consistently and ends up spending a lot of money long term, with betting overtaking his initial love for sports.
  • Sam went to betting after being a sports fan because he wanted to make money, and took a clever approach in doing so. Sam's spending habits are consistent and calculating—he is more likely to win in the long run than lose.


  • Public Pete is also a steady better and more of a recreational gambler who bets primarily on public teams, favorites, and overs.
  • Pete's gone into betting from being a sports fan after he realized he could do both, and bet whilst enjoying sports. Pete has no sound bankroll management and bets heavily and consistently.


  • Frat Boy Bobby is a sports fanatic, and he particularly enjoys big events like football weekends, March Madness and championship bouts.
  • Bobby went into betting because he realized that big events could bring him some money. He is big into parlays, and will bet 4- and 5-leg parlays at $25-$50 a pop.
  • Due to Bobby being a true fan, he knows his stuff and will bet on high-profile prime time games like Sunday Night Football. His bets are usually sizeable.


  • Leisure Len is a true fan and not really a bettor, but will end up in Atlantic City on a bachelor party or a weekend getaway with some friends. He bets modestly and will bet on his favorite team to make the game more interesting.
  • Len is mostly motivated to bet by the fun aspect of betting and is not looking to make any money, which is why most of the bets are expected to be modest.


  • Fantasy Frank is a serious fan who got into betting when he realized his knowledge could make him some money.
  • Frank bets a couple a hundred bucks apiece and is focused on a handful of props, knowing he will win more than lose.


  • Will is wealthy and is betting six figures under the influence of alcohol.
  • Whilst he is a casual sports fan, it is more about the fun for him than it is about sports. Will makes up the smallest portion of sports fans and is often disregarded in psychographics profiling of sports fans.


The research team reviewed news articles, industry reports, and a few sports betting databases (to see if there was information to be gleaned about its users). While we did find some data that was relevant to the topic of sports betting, in general, data that specifically addressed the psyche of fans and their betting habits was limited. We also reviewed articles, like this one from the Denver Post, that noted sports betting was soon to be on the voting ballot in Colorado, to attempt to locate information or analysis on voters who might vote for sports betting. But the details were too casual (for instance a commentator supposed that people bet on sports because it was the “adult thing” to do along with smoking and drinking). The best data available was located preexisting and delved into several personas, complete with relevant psychographic information.

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