For Generation Z and professional sports: is it generation zzz?


Generation Z teenagers participating in an Esports competition. Credit: Daily Mirror.

Theo Kayser, Reporter

Over the past 100 years in America, professional sports have been one of the most prominent, relatively modern forms of entertainment. In an age where the internet has made most things more accessible than ever, it would make sense for the popularity of sports to increase exponentially. However, in a recent study by Morning Consult, people in Generation Z, or people born between 1996 – 2010, were surveyed about their interest in sports, and the results indicate otherwise.

According to the survey, a lowly 53% of Gen-Z’ers consider themselves sports fans, as opposed to 69% of millennials and 63% of all adults. Of this 53%, a mere 21% identify as avid fans, 32% identify as casual fans and 47% as not fans at all. Gen-Z is also nearly half as likely to consistently watch live sports compared to any generation previously, as only 8% of those surveyed said they watch nearly every day.

Foothill Tech student data regarding interest in professional sports. (Theo Kayser)

When a poll was put up on The Foothill Dragon Press Instagram for students to participate in, the feedback was very similar to that of Morning Consult. Of 129 people who participated in the survey, 54% said they follow professional sports, with 21% claiming to watch sports nearly every day. Of the students that identified as sports fans, a vast majority, 76%, identified themselves as casual, while the other 24% were avid.

These results may come as a surprise to many, as sports are more accessible now than ever. However, when one considers other kinds of media that are also a few clicks away, it begins to make a bit more sense. 

Owen Houston ‘23, a Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) student who identifies as an avid sports fan, explains that “with social media and video games, there are ways for kids to entertain themselves other than playing a sport and if you don’t play sports, it makes watching sports less interesting”. 

Another Foothill Tech student, Jolie Seemayer ‘21, adds on to this same point by saying that “a lot of kids now see a screen as a main form of entertainment instead of going outside and playing a sport.” The Morning Consult study backs this up, as when they inquired about Gen-Z’s interest in ESports, they discovered that 35% identify as fans, higher than the generation’s interest in the NHL, NASCAR and MLB.

Based on this data, the entertainment world is rapidly shifting from some classic methods of entertainment, such as professional sports and although the majority of Gen-Z still follow them, it is clear that ‘America’s favorite pastime’ may have some new competition.

What do you think?