While sports commissioners, governments and medical experts debate when to reopen sports leagues, a huge majority of Americans including a substantial majority of sports fans are prepared to stay home until the development of a vaccine for coronavirus.

According to a poll by Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business, asked what they would do if the leagues resumed play before the development of a vaccine, 72 percent of Americans said they would not attend games, with 12 percent saying they would if social distancing could be maintained.  Only 13 percent said they would feel safe attending as in the past.  Among sports fans the number drops to a still significant 61 percent.

If the Policy of Social Distancing Continues into the Fall, Should NFL Start Up?
And if social distancing continues into the fall, 70 percent thinks the NFL should not start up to insure the players safety, with 20 percent saying the league should resume but allow the players to choose not to play, and only six percent saying the league should start up as planned.

These were the results of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week among 762 Americans across the country on both landlines and cellphones.  The Poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percent.

“This virus has the attention and respect of the nation,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business.  “Those who identify as sports fans, at all levels of interest, line up closely with the general population in regard to their own safety and that of the players.”

Play Games without Fans Present?
As for the possibility of playing games with no fans present, a similar number – 76 percent – said they would watch broadcasts of the games with the same interest as before, with only 16 percent saying they would be less interested and 7 percent saying they would be more interested.

Did Leagues Shut Down at the Right Time?
Make no mistake – sports fans miss their sports…but also respect the devastating power of the virus.  Seventy-six percent said sports shut down at the right time, with 16 percent saying not quickly enough and six percent saying too quickly.

Olympics?
Eighty-four percent felt the IOC acted appropriately in postponing this year’s Olympic Games to 2021, with only 14 percent saying they acted too quickly.

Should Teams Pay Stadium Workers?
And asked whether teams have an obligation to pay daily arena and stadium workers for time missed because of the virus, 59 percent said yes and 33 percent said no.