Gen Z doesn't care about sports

This is part of a larger issue that college football (and sports in general) will have to deal with. Gen Z has a very significant drop (i.e. 20%) in their fandom, compared to previous generations:

The results reveal a somewhat troubling trend: Generation Z males (those born between 1990 and 2010) “seem to be increasingly indifferent and negative to traditional sports,” Lewis and Wang write in their report. “Generation Z’s relative lack of passion for sports and other categories is troubling for fandom-based businesses and a curiosity for those interested in the state of American society.”

While only 23 percent of Generation Z defined themselves as “avid sports fans,” 42 percent of Millennials did, along with 33 percent of Gen Xers and 31 percent of Baby Boomers.

Perhaps even more revealing is the percentage of respondents who considered themselves “anti-sports fans”—a startling 27 percent of Generation Z tagged themselves as “anti-sports” compared to 7 percent of Millennials, 5 percent of Gen X, and 6 percent of Baby Boomers.

There are lots of reasons for this that we can discuss, but I’m curious how much of this information is being taken in consideration in the current rush for the horde of treasure that are renewed TV contracts.

Looks about right from an unscientific standpoint. The bigger question that should’ve been asked was how many have participated in a sport/multiple sports. I believe one may find these kids simply never had that exposure to athletics. Playing the games and/or participating in a sport can develop an appreciation for them.


I wonder if it’s related to hyper-specialization in 1 sport earlier and so that turns off other kids from trying out several sports (or getting cut because there are specialists already or club team favorites of the coaches). Maybe esports or phone video games have replaced some interest.

We’ve seen new basketball arenas lower capacity from 15k to closer to 10k with more luxury boxes - there just aren’t that many that want to be crammed in when they can watch it at home, so it has to be a differentiated experience.

Lastly, unscientifically, it seems attention spans have shortened. Maybe it’s phone use. Maybe it’s more interesting to hold your phone up and record rather than just watch and enjoy. Maybe football games and their endless commercial breaks taking game experiences to 3.5-4 hours is way too long. I know my teenagers (tail end of Gen Z/iGen) can’t do anything for longer than an hour, maybe 2. Movies in theaters are too long (too much time away from phone!). Paying a bunch to visit a great art gallery or exhibit and after an hour, they have their pictures and are done. Dances (even homecoming, prom)? Bored and leaving after an hour or hour and a half (which I hate because I expected them to stay and know what they are doing).

1 Like

Seriously. Kids say that they’re bored. “I’m bored”

I tell them… you’ve got a trampoline in the backyard, you’ve got a basketball hoop (with a net!) next to the (concrete!) driveway, video games, and you can watch just about any movie any time you want…if you’re bored I’ll find something for you to do.

Now get off my lawn.


I heard today that college football viewer ratings are up 12.5% since 2018. That bubble will likely burst at somepoint, but college and NFL football are as popular as they’ve ever been.

I think youth soccer is the cause.


Gen Z is 1997-2012.