Olympics Bridge Gender Divide In Sports Interest

Feb 01, 2010

The upcoming Winter Olympics will be a rare sporting event in at least one respect: As many women as men say they are especially looking forward to the winter games. By contrast, more men than women are anticipating another major event on the upcoming sports calendar, next Sunday's Super Bowl.

A recent Pew Research Center survey, conducted Jan. 6-10 among 1,504 adults, found that 63% of women and 59% of men say they are especially looking forward to the Winter Olympics. A December 2007 survey found a similar absence of gender differences when it came to advance interest for the 2008 summer games in Beijing. At that time, 54% of women and 51% of men said they were particularly looking forward to the Olympics.

Men are more likely than women to say they are particularly looking forward to other sporting events. Two-thirds of men (67%) say they are especially looking forward to the Super Bowl, compared with just 50% of women. In 2007, 44% of men and 33% of women said they anticipated the World Series. And there is a 10-point gap in the proportions of men and women saying they are looking forward to the World Cup this year (28% of men vs. 18% of women).

While more women are looking forward to the coming Olympics than the Super Bowl, the gap is especially large among older women. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of women ages 50 and older say they are especially looking forward to the Winter Olympics, while just 44% say the same about the Super Bowl. Among women younger than age 50, 62% say they are looking forward to the winter games while 55% are looking forward to the Super Bowl. By comparison, higher percentages of men, irrespective of age, say they are especially looking forward to the Super Bowl than say that about the Winter Olympics.

Read the full report Olympics Bridge Gender Divide In Sports Interest on the Pew Research Center's Web site.

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