MarketCast Diversity & Inclusion in Sports Study in Partnership with TIDES™

In the summer of 2020, the world was made to pay attention to issues surrounding systemic racism and police brutality against Black Americans, as word – and video footage spread across the globe in an instant. 

While citizens protested in the streets, we also witnessed athletes unite and use their profile, platforms and influence as leaders, to campaign for social justice in support of the movement and racial equality.

In our latest study, MarketCast partnered with The University of Central Florida College of Business Administration and The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport™ (TIDES), a nationally recognized organization focused on improving diversity and ethics in sports, to understand the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of sports fans as it relates to the ongoing fight for racial equality and social justice.

Our findings look to identify how athletes and professional leagues can play a role in progressing the social justice movement and engaging a wide range of fans with these topics. We looked at which athletes and teams are leading the charge and how specific fan segments are reacting to athlete activism across a range of topics. You can download the full report here.

Report Key Take-Aways

Two in three fans approve of how athletes use their platform to protest racial injustice: 

  • 72% Have positive reactions towards athletes calling for gender equality / equal pay.
  • 70% Have positive reactions towards athletes advocating for the LGBTQ+ community.
  • 65% Have positive reactions towards athletes advocating for racial equality.

Brands can help amplify social causes: 

  • In 2018, following Nike’s campaign with Colin Kaepernick, sales jumped 31% in a show of support for Kaepernick and a brand that backed him.
  • 67% of sponsor supporters are more likely to support brands endorsed by athletes who use their platform to raise awareness about social justice (vs 57% overall fanbase).

WNBA demonstrated leadership on and off the court inspiring fans to rally round: 

  • 77% of WNBA fans supported players shirts condemning the shooting of Jacob Blake. 
  • 69% of WNBA fans supported Atlanta Dream player Renee Montgomery when she sought a discussion with U.S. Senator and team owner Kelly Loeffler, shortly after Loeffler spoke against Black Lives Matter. 
Download Report