Football shows no sign of fumbling its status as American adults' favorite spectator sport. Asked last month in a Gallup poll to pick their "favorite sport to watch," 41 percent chose football -- beating the combined tally for baseball (10 percent), basketball (9 percent), ice hockey (4 percent), soccer (3 percent), auto racing (3 percent) and golf (2 percent).
The figure for basketball is the lowest since 1981, says Gallup in its analysis of the findings, "when the sport was beginning a surge in popularity fueled by prominent star players such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and, later, Michael Jordan." Basketball fared better with the 18-29-year-olds, among whom 16 percent picked it as their favorite sport to watch. Basketball also scored a bit better among women than among men (13 percent vs. 9 percent), while football fared significantly less well (32 percent of women, 49 percent of men).