Rich Luker, Founder of the SSRS/Luker on Trends Sports Poll, Featured in Washington Post Article
“Sports has a Gen Z problem. The pandemic may accelerate it.”
The bulky and bankable U.S. sports industry, built on towers of cash and lucrative television contracts, is confronting a Generation Z problem. The nation’s youngest cohort is fundamentally different from the generations that preceded it. Having grown up with smartphones in their pockets, its members eschew traditional television viewing and subscribe to digital habits that make grooming a new generation of sports fans a challenge.
Rich Luker is a social psychologist and founder of Luker on Trends, a sports polling outfit that has measured fandom and consulted with pro leagues for more than a quarter-century. He has watched fandom drop among young people for the past decade and sounded alarms. “I’ve been screaming for 15 years now,” he said. “I would get pushback. Owners, executives, senior-level people say, ‘They will come back at 35.’ Why would they come back at 35 when they were never there in the first place? That’s like saying all of a sudden they’ll all start knitting at 35 or watching cricket at 35. Why would they do that?”