Study: NFL Provides Worst In-Stadium Experience Across Pro Sports

The NFL gets a thumbs down from fans in eight of the nine categories examined. (Photo via

Based on a study from the Temkin Group, the NFL remained the most popular sport to watch on TV, but the league’s game day experience earned the lowest satisfaction scores for eight of the nine live event experiences that Temkin tracks.

The report, Fan Experience Benchmark: U.S. Professional Sports, is based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers that examines their TV viewing preferences and experiences at live sporting events.

For the past seven years, the Temkin Group has been tracking these TV preferences and over the course of that time, only Major League Baseball and the NHL have experienced an increase in popularity.

As leagues fight other forms of entertainment, the study found that the decline in TV interest was most dramatic for males between the ages of 18- and 24-years-old, which is not a good sign for leagues looking for ways to capture the coveted millennial audience.

Although only 2.2% of the consumers surveyed had attended a WNBA game, the league scored highest in five of the categories examined including parking, using the bathroom, purchasing food, purchasing a souvenir, and leaving the stadium.

When it comes to watching the game, the NHL and MLB shared the honor of being the favorite of those surveyed, which isn’t really surprising given that baseball games allow for more social interaction and are easier to watch casually, while NHL games are non-stop and provide fans with energy and excitement not seen anywhere else outside of the NBA and MLS.

Not surprisingly, consistently across the sports measured, consumers were least satisfied with the parking experience and most satisfied with their experience of watching the game/match.

Given what we know about parking costs and the hassle they present, teams who can streamline this process and provide a better experience for fans start winning before those attending the game even make it into the stadium.

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An example of this can be what the Red Sox and other teams have done with parking startup ParkWhiz. By partnering with the company, the Red Sox give their fans the chance to reserve parking spaces in advance, saving fans the time and hassle it may take to find one before the game.

As for the NFL, the only category it didn’t find itself last in was that of watching the game, which the WNBA found itself holding the title of.

The three least satisfactory experiences for consumers across the study include parking, going to the bathroom, and purchasing food, all experiences that can be negated by staying home and watching the game on TV.

With entertainment options abound and millennials opting for experiences that provide them with the best of everything, for sports teams to drive fans back to the stadium and into seats is going to take looking at the core complaints of consumers and doubling down on efforts to provide tangible solutions (i.e. the Falcons Fan First Pricing).