Nielsen has launched a new study, “Promoting Racial Quality in Sports,” which captures the U.S. sports fans towards racism. The study shows sports fans outpace the general population in terms of support for racial equality and its movements.

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According to Nielsen, 7 in 10 sports fans have indicated support for the Black Lives Matter movement, while 1 in 3 has contributed time or money to Black Lives Matter.

The study was conducted in July 2020 after nationwide protests against systemic racial injustice, along with police brutality.


The findings include 72% of sports fans believe athletes are an important influence on Black Lives Matter and 59% expect athletes to help advance the Black Lives Matter cause. Also, 70% indicate teams and leagues should support athlete protests and initiatives on race, while 70% believe teams and leagues should develop marketing campaigns supporting diversity. Of those surveyed, 64% expressed increased interest in brands engaged in the fight against racial inequality and 77% believe brands are more powerful when they partner with sports organizations to drive social change.

The study also looked into the attitudes and behaviors of fans of leagues such as the MLB, MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, and NASCAR. The report shows NBA, MLS, and NFL fans have the highest level of support for Black Lives Matter. Of those that support, MLS, NHL, and MLB fans are the most likely to contribute time and/or money.

“While the problems of racial inequality and systemic injustice are difficult and sensitive, it is critical to tackle them,” said Lyndon Campbell, Senior Vice President, Head of Sports Leagues and Rights Holders at Nielsen Sports. “Brands and rights holders that authentically align with these critical issues as they engage sports fans can drive positive social change while also achieving business objectives. This is the definition of a win-win situation.”