CivicScience tracking of comfort levels returning to major public events shows a steady increase in U.S. adults being both comfortable returning in six months or more as well as returning in less than a month.

With more states beginning to relax restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, comfort returning to these events in under a month has increased from 14% to 18%. However, 47% of U.S. adults continue to report that they would not be comfortable until six or more months have passed. 

Sporting events are major public gatherings that have been through a tremendously difficult time. Being a place where thousands gather, they’re very low on the list of places to go for those concerned about the virus. CivicScience data found that U.S. adults with no interest in sports are less comfortable returning to major public events, such as sporting events, in under six months than those with strong interests in sports. Thirty-two percent of those passionate about sports say they feel comfortable going to a major event in under a month.

Sports have traditionally been highly favored and beloved by men more than women. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that men are more likely to return to major events such as sporting events sooner, with 23% comfortable returning in under a month.

Interestingly, when compared with one’s personality in social situations, people who are more self-contained and reserved report being more passionate about sports than people who are more outgoing and enthusiastic. This could also factor into the comfort levels of passionate sports fans because more self-contained and reserved people can be more cautious. In fact, 61% report they will not be comfortable returning to these events until at least six months.

Watching vs. Attending Games

Watching sports on TV and attending a sporting event are two wildly different experiences. CivicScience took a look at people who attend sporting events more frequently and found that these individuals report feeling more comfortable returning to major events sooner rather than later. U.S. adults who frequent sporting events at least once a month (in normal circumstances) and would be comfortable returning in under six months are 82% more likely to feel safe going to a public event in less than a month than people who never attend sporting events.

The majority of U.S. adults who watch sports on TV say they will be comfortable going to a major event in less than six months. Additionally, people who watch sports on TV are about 70% more comfortable than people who don’t watch sports on TV to go to a major event in under a month. 

Fast food has become a staple at many major public events, such as sporting events, and could be an influential part in encouraging people to return. Although the majority of U.S. adults will not be comfortable returning to such events for at least six months, people who eat fast food are about 70% more likely to return in less than six months compared to people who do not eat fast food. 

Surprisingly, vegetarianism and veganism also seem to correlate with comfort returning to major public events. U.S. adults who are vegetarian or vegan are more likely to have a moderate view of when to return to major public events, with 54% responding that they would be comfortable in less than six months. 

CivicScience data illustrate a growing discomfort among U.S. adults regarding attending public events. Most people reported not being ready for six or more months, a number that has been growing at a fast rate. However, the amount of people who are starting to feel comfortable going to public events is increasing and many are starting to say they’ll be ready to attend in less than one month.