Sports fans – they’re known for their unwavering dedication and the power of superstitions. From sleeping in their opponent’s jerseys to wearing a lucky piece of clothing, it’s evident that fans are willing to do whatever it takes for their favorite team to win.
We wanted to know which fan bases are the most superstitious, across the top five major professional sports leagues: MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, and NHL. We asked over 3,000 sports fanatics about their pre-game rituals to uncover the top 10 most superstitious fan bases and leagues.
- Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Lakers fans are the most superstitious (tied), across every major professional sports league.
- NFL fans are the most superstitious, out of the top 5 major professional sports leagues.
- New York Yankees supporters are the most superstitious MLB fan base.
- The most (44.4%) common sports superstitions performed are wearing lucky colors or team colors.
Superstitious fervor: Top 10 fan bases across the major professional sports leagues
Whether it’s baseball, football, basketball, hockey or soccer, fans are ready to go the lengths to bring good luck and success to their favorite teams. But who’s putting the super in superstitious?
Tied for the title of the most superstitious fan bases across all five major professional sports leagues are the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Lakers. Not only do these teams inspire their fans’ rituals, but star players like the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott and the Lakers’ Lebron James also have their own unique routines, such as wearing specific clothing items or performing trademark gestures like the powder toss.
Holding the silver trophy with pride is the Green Bay Packers fan base. The Packers fans have a long history of superstitions, including wearing the same pieces of clothing to each game – unwashed! One Packers fan, Meg Flemming, has worn the same Packers anklet since she was 10, pleading not to take it off until the Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl again. “I definitely want to take it off…I just love the Packers and I want them to win so badly,” Flemming states. Talk about dedication!
Over on the East Coast, the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base ranks third as the most superstitious. The Steeler Nation also has a rich history of pre-game rituals, but they tend to be a bit more…unique. Besides wearing black and gold, fans have been known to play a few online casino or betting games, hoping to bring luck to their favorite team. Even more so, fans also like to bring their black cats to the game, to ward off bad vibes! For a more simple ritual, some opt to throw salt over their shoulders or to carry a piece of steel in their pocket – as an attempt to steel the win.
Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd! New York Yankees fans ranked fourth overall, but are also the most superstitious MLB team. Not only are the Yankees supporters a bit ritualistic, but so were some previous players. Roger Clemens touched the head of Ruth’s statue before pitching in the Yankee Stadium and Jason Giambi once wore a golden thong – which seemingly worked wonders as it broke his performance slump!
Completing the top five list, the Chicago Bears fan base takes fifth place, representing the superstitious side of the NFL. Some of their favorite rituals include wearing a certain color or a lucky piece of clothing and listening to a lucky song.
Overall, it’s evident that the NFL dominates the superstitious chart, with four out of six being football teams – making the NFL the most superstitious major professional sports league. The NBA ranks as the second most superstitious, followed by MLB, NHL, and MLS respectively.
The most common sports superstitions fans swear by
Don’t jinx it! To ensure their favorite team’s success, sports enthusiasts will practice certain routines before the big game. Here are some of the most popular sports-related superstitions our superfans perform.
Our sports enthusiasts dress for success! Most (44.4%) of our respondents say they wear a certain color before the big game. That includes wearing their lucky color or their team’s colors. Some (16.2%) opt to wear a lucky piece of clothing, such as their…lucky underwear? Hey, no judgment here – you gotta do what you gotta do, right?
Other fans (8.6%) prefer to follow traditions, like watching the game in a specific place, like their favorite (or lucky) bar. A few (6.4%) noticed a specific meal they previously ate brought success to their team and now strategically eat that same meal on game day. Burgers, anyone?
Wrapping up the top five most common sports superstitions sports fans practice, 6% avoid placing bets on their supporting team. They’re not the only avoidants here, as 4.4% go out of their way to watch the game without a certain family member or friend because they believe they’re bad luck. These die-hard fans leave no stone unturned when it comes to maximizing their teams’ chances of victory!
In the end, it’s no secret that superstitions serve as a unique and endearing aspect of fan culture. From lucky apparel to avoiding certain family members and friends, true sports fanatics find solace in their superstitious practices.
In July 2023, we surveyed over 3,000 U.S. and Canadian sports fans about their pre-game rituals and participants. We asked them a series of questions to discover which fan bases and major professional sports leagues are the most superstitious.
The average age of respondents was 37.9 years old. The representative sample comprised 58.6% male, 39.4% female, 1.5% non-binary, 0.4% transgender, and other 0.1%.
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