America's favorite sport? Once again, professional football claims the top spot!

For more than four decades, according to The Harris Poll, the NFL has been the most popular sport in America.

In its most recent survey, released January 17, 2013, Harris -- the pioneer in market research -- reveals that pro football is the favorite sport of more than one-third of people (34 percent). That is more than double the next favorite sport, with 16 percent of people claiming baseball as their favorite sport.

In addition, professional football has gained in popularity more than any other sport since 1985 with a 10 percent increase (from 24 to 34 percent).

The third favorite sport in the survey is college football at 11 percent, meaning that football is the favorite sport of nearly half of America's sports fans (45 percent).

The five most popular sports according to The Harris Poll 2012 (released January 17, 2013):

Rank Sport Percent
Source: NFL
1Pro Football34
3College Football11
4Auto Racing8
5Men's Pro Basketball7


Survey Says!

The NFL has been recognized as America's most popular sport for the past 48 years, rated No. 1 by fans in the Harris Poll since 1965. In fact, more people name professional football (34 percent) as their favorite sport than the combined total of the next three professional sports -- baseball (16), auto racing (eight) and men's pro basketball (five). More than 223 million Americans watched the 2012 NFL season and viewership of NFL games continues to dominate the fragmented television landscape. NFL popularity can be measured in other ways as well.

For instance:

NFL games on CBS, FOX and NBC averaged 19.3 million viewers -- 154 percent higher than the average primetime viewership among the four major over-the-air networks (7.6 million average on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC).

Super Bowl XLVII reached a total audience of 164.1 million viewers, making it the most-viewed show in U.S. television history according to The Nielsen Company. Super Bowl XLVII topped the previous record of 162.9 million total viewers for Super Bowl XLV (Packers-Steelers). In addition, an average of 108.4 million viewers watched Super Bowl XLVII, the thirdmost all-time.

According to the 2012 ESPN Sports Poll, the NFL is the favorite sport of 26 percent of respondents. More than twice as many people identify the NFL as their favorite sport as second-place MLB. Combined with college football (10 percent), football is the favorite sport of 36 percent of America's sports fans.

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NFL Football Still America's Favorite Sport By Far in 2013