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Study: Sports fans more likely to back brands that support racial equality

Octagon survey also finds followers of sport are more committed to social justice causes.

3 September 2020 Sam Carp

Getty Images

  • 38% of sports fans more likely to support sponsors of athletes that speak out against racial inequality
  • Results show more than half of sports community backs Black Lives Matter movement

Sports fans are more likely than the general public to be loyal to brands that support racial equality, according to a survey conducted by international sports agency Octagon.

The results of the survey, which were published by Adweek, found that 38 per cent of sports fans are more likely to be loyal to a brand that sponsors athletes and teams who speak out in support of racial equality, compared with 29 per cent of those who do not consider themselves to be sports fans.

That was particularly true for younger sports fans between the ages of 18 and 34, with 54 per cent of respondents in that age bracket saying they would be more likely to back a brand that supports racial equality. That was the case for only 34 per cent of sports fans above the 18 to 34 age range.

One company that has previously benefited from supporting racial equality is US sportswear giant Nike, which saw its share price reach an all-time high in September 2018 after making Colin Kaepernick, the former National Football League (NFL) quarterback who began the league-wide movement of kneeling during the national anthem, the face of an advertising campaign.

More broadly, Octagon also found that sports fans are more likely than the general public to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and other social justice causes. According to the survey, more than half of sports fans support BLM, while 42 per cent of non-sports fans said they support the movement.

The Octagon survey, which quizzed 1,200 sports fans and non-sports fans, was carried out amid a surge in athlete activism in the United States, where National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Soccer (MLS) games were postponed last week as players protested against racial injustice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

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