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Sports fans more likely to support Black Lives Matter, survey finds

A basketball court painted with the slogan "Black Lives Matter" at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla.
“Black Lives Matter” appears on the floor of a basketball court inside the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla.
(Tim Reynolds / Associated Press)

When compared to other Americans, sports fans are more likely to support the Black Lives Matter movement, according to a marketing research study issued on Wednesday.

The study, titled Promoting Racial Equality in Sports, conducted by Nielsen Sports, also found that a majority of fans expect athletes to be involved in social change and want leagues to allow for protest.

The July study was prompted by demonstrations in cities across the nation following the death of George Floyd, said Nielsen, which provides analysis of consumer habits and trends to teams, leagues and corporate sponsors.

Brands that actively support equality “can drive positive social change while also achieving business objectives,” said Lyndon Campbell, a senior vice president for the market researcher. “This is the definition of a win-win situation.”

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NBA players have a long history of social activism, and there has never been a better time for them to lead the fight for justice and change. Can they succeed?

Nearly 70% of fans — compared with 62% of the general population — said they support Black Lives Matter. A similar percentage said leagues and teams should develop marketing campaigns for social change while letting athletes protest.

NBA, MLS and NFL fans were the most likely to support Black Lives Matter, the study found. MLS, NHL and MLB fans were the most likely to have personally supported the cause with time or money.


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