Asked what they would do if the leagues resumed play before the development of a vaccine, 72 percent of Americans said they would not attend games, according to a survey released by Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business.

The poll was conducted by telephone April 6 to 8 with 762 respondents.

Twelve percent said they would if social distancing could be maintained. Only 13 percent said they would feel safe attending as in the past.  Among sports fans, the number drops to a still significant 61 percent.

The reported noted that medical experts have repeatedly put the timeline for approval of a vaccine into 2021, although they have not ruled out an existing drug proving effective for treatment this year. Seventy-four percent of Americans thought it was possible, likely or very likely, that sports would be canceled for the rest of this year.

Other findings from the study:

  • Seventy percent think the NFL should not start up to ensure the players’ safety if social distancing continues into the fall.
  • Twenty percent said the league should resume but allow the players to choose not to play, and only six percent saying the league should start up as planned.
  • Seventy-six percent said they would watch broadcasts of the games with the same interest as before with no fans present, with only 16 percent saying they would be less interested and 7 percent saying they would be more interested.
  • Seventy-six percent said sports shut down at the right time, with 16 percent saying not quickly enough and six percent saying too quickly.
  • Eighty-four percent felt the IOC acted appropriately in postponing this year’s Olympic Games to 2021, with only 14 percent saying they acted too quickly.
  • Fifty-nine percent said teams have an obligation to pay daily arena and stadium workers for time missed because of the virus. A third said no.

“This virus has the attention and respect of the nation,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business.  “Those who identify as sports fans, at all levels of interest, line up closely with the general population in regard to their own safety and that of the players.”

Photo courtesy AP