Why sports fans enjoy game day more with their loved ones

·3-min read

Two-thirds of sports fans are superstitious when it comes to game day, according to new research.

From wearing a specific jersey every time their team plays (50%) — with some not washing it until the end of the season (44%) — to sitting in a specific spot (42%), sports fans aren't willing to take any chances. 

The survey of 2,400 Americans who regularly watch and/or attend sporting events found 62% have even blamed themselves for their team's loss — as they weren't wearing the right shirt or had moved from their spot on the couch during the game.

And these superstitions go beyond respondents themselves: 38% feel someone in their family is "bad luck," and of those, 84% have asked them to leave the room when the game is on.

Commissioned by Tipico Sportsbook and conducted by OnePoll, the survey found the stakes will be even higher as families gather for Thanksgiving.

Eight in 10 respondents (81%) said it's "tradition" to watch or attend sporting events during Thanksgiving weekend — and the same number said sports are more exciting when they experience them with other people.

Not only is it more exciting, but 71% also feel the "stakes" of the game are higher when they're watching with friends and family members.

Part of that might be who they're watching with: 74% believe it's more fun to watch and attend sporting events with rival fans — and 67% admit to purposely antagonizing their loved ones who support a rival team.

Results also found 59% have made friendly "bets" with loved ones while watching a game.

This includes everything from making the loser of the bet pay the tab at the bar, having to wear the other team's jersey or colors — and even getting a weird haircut or shaving their hair.

"Watching sports is an important part of American culture, especially as the holidays hit and we celebrate our favorite traditions with family and friends," said Adrian Vella, CEO of Tipico Sportsbook. "It's natural that bettors feel there are higher stakes in the game when they're watching with friends and family members and there's an opportunity for friendly rivalries. With this in mind, they're making bets while spending time with them during the holidays.

We know that fans and bettors take their sports seriously, so we are not surprised to hear that as part of their holiday sports tradition, they wager with or against family members to see who comes out on top."

Most people surveyed (74%) believe watching and attending sporting events is more exciting when they have "skin in the game" — whether that's money, a friendly bet or their pride.

Half of Americans surveyed (49%) have participated in sports betting, and of those, 90% think sporting events are more fun when they have money riding on the outcome.

Of those who have participated in sports betting, 45% "always" do so when watching or attending a game.

When it comes to their betting strategy, "trust my gut" is the most popular (41%), followed by having faith in the experts and betting on whoever is expected to win (36%).

However, people are still worried about sports superstitions while they're betting: 55% of those who've participated in sports betting said it's bad luck if they're told "you can't lose" or "it's a lock."

Similarly, 54% of those believe it's actually bad luck to be wished "good luck."

"Every sports bettor has a different strategy or technique they bring to the table in hopes of bringing them good luck," added Vella. "Whether it's analyzing numbers, having a particular ritual, or abiding by a superstition, there are different practices for every bettor."

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