ESPN study: Fan desire for return of sports has increased despite pandemic

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Phillies, Eagles to have no fans at games in 2020 (0:50)

Tim McManus reports on the Eagles and Phillies not being able to have fans at their games in 2020 because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. (0:50)

An overwhelming majority of sports fans polled by ESPN say they support the return of professional and collegiate sports even if fans will not be in attendance due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A second wave of ESPN's Coronavirus Lockdown Fan Study surveyed 1,003 sports fans age 18 and older and found 78% were in favor of sports resuming play despite restrictions on fan attendance, a double-digit increase from the previous poll, conducted in mid-April.

With MLS, the NWSL and UFC already underway and MLB, the NBA, the WNBA and the NHL set to resume play in the next couple of weeks, fans are clearly ready for the return of sports -- with 59% saying they can't wait to see sports back on television and are planning to watch as much as they can (up from 56% in April). Meanwhile, the prolonged suspension of live sporting events has left 64% of fans with a greater appreciation for them, with 84% of avid fans expressing the same sentiment.

The second wave of the ESPN Coronavirus Lockdown Fan Study was conducted nationwide June 23-26.