Nearly three in four Americans say they would not feel safe attending a sports game until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is developed, according to a poll conducted by Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business.
The poll, which was published Thursday, received responses from a random sample of 762 people questioned by phone between Monday and Wednesday.
Asked about attending a game before the development of a vaccine, 72 percent of respondents said they would feel "not at all" safe, while 12 percent said they would feel safe "only if social distancing." Thirteen percent said they would feel safe, and 3 percent responded "Don't know/No opinion."
Another question asked about how attendance should be handled if sports return in 2020. Twelve percent responded saying games should be played with fans present as normal, compared to 23 percent who favored "restricted attendance." A total of 21 percent said no fans should be present, and 40 percent said sports should not be played at all in 2020.
President Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday he would "absolutely" like to see fans back in stadiums for games by August, though he added he's "not committing to it."
Trump reportedly told various sports commissioners on a conference call earlier Saturday that he's hopeful for a full NFL season.
Specific to the NFL, 70 percent of respondents said the league should not start as scheduled if "some form of social distancing" continues into the fall. An additional 20 percent favored starting as scheduled but allowing players to choose not to play.
A total of 74 percent of respondents said they believe it is possible (46 percent), likely (16 percent) or very likely (12 percent) that all sports will be canceled through the end of 2020.
The relatively small poll sample included a varied mix of fans and non-fans, with 46 percent saying they follow sports "not closely" (26 percent) or "not at all" (20 percent).
Almost all major U.S. sports have been stopped since March 11 -- when the NBA shut down after one of its players tested positive for COVID-19 -- or March 12, when the majority of other leagues suspended play.
--Field Level Media