Foul Play or Fair Game? Part 1

April, 2020

As leagues consider a return to live sports through “fanless” and “bubble league” play where players compete in isolation from the general public, discussion around athlete testing for COVID-19 has been brought back to the media forefront. Horizon Media looked into understanding how the public felt about the usage of tests for these purposes.

When COVID-19 first broke, many athletes received early access to tests – some with symptoms and some without. This testing caused mixed reactions: many people claiming unfair and preferential treatment towards athletes (66%), others defending the move citing athletes’ increased chance of exposure.

While overall more than 8 in 10 people agree testing should be based on symptoms and risk, three factors make people more understanding of early testing of athletes:

Though sports fans are more supportive, sensitivity around testing of athletes exists. As leagues explore resuming games, providing additional context around early testing and the benefits to the fans initially (e.g., awareness, tracking) and now or near future (e.g., establishing some normalcy, escape) could help garner greater support.

Source: Horizon Media, Finger on the Pulse. Survey fielded 3/25/20 – 4/3/20, n=1,067

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