Beer And Sports Go Hand-in-Hand

Beer drinkers associate the beverage with most sports, with the exception of horse racing and tennis, according to a recent Harris Poll.

When asked what type of alcoholic beverage first comes to mind when thinking of 11 different sports, beer was the clear leader for sports like football (75%), baseball (70%), car racing (55%), and hockey (51%). Beer also tops the list, although to a lesser extent, for basketball (48%), boxing (39%), soccer (34%), beach volleyball (25%), and golf (17%). Following closely in second place for golf is spirits/liquor (14%). One-quarter of regular drinkers associate horse racing first with spirits/liquor (25%), while wine tops the list for tennis (19%).

A majority of those who consume alcohol at least several times a year ("regular drinkers") associate football (84%), baseball (78%), hockey (62%), car racing (66%), horse racing (62%), basketball (60%), and boxing (56%) with one or more alcoholic beverage types. About half associate golf (50%), soccer (48%), and beach volleyball (46%) with adult beverages, while just 4 in 10 do the same with tennis (42%).



Given the surrounding business environment connected with professional sports, there is intense competition among those beverages to become that fan's beverage of choice, says Danny Brager, senior vice president of Nielsen's beverage and alcohol practice.

“Suppliers would be wise to know which sports offers the best opportunities for their products, and which sports might require greater emphasis in order to elevate their products into the fan's consideration set when they choose an alcoholic beverage,” Brager says in a release.

Sports fans do differ across age groups, with Millennial drinkers more likely than those 65+ to be fans of boxing (22% vs. 12%) and soccer (21% vs. 11%), while those 65+ are more likely be a fan of golf (30% vs. 11% 21-34). Perhaps not surprisingly, males are significantly more likely than women — across all age groups — to be fans of each sport.  

Regular drinkers in the Northeast were much more likely to describe themselves as fans of baseball (54%) than all other regions, whereas those in the South (24%) and Midwest (22%) describe themselves as car racing fans more so than the Northeast (14%).

Harris polled 1,986 U.S. adults aged 21+ (1,394 of whom drink alcohol at least several times a year, i.e., "regular drinkers") online between Aug. 26 and 30.

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