Majority of Americans believe MLB stadiums should allow fans, but with significant capacity limits

Widespread support for fans having to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter stadium

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Johnny Sawyer Senior Research Analyst
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Washington, DC, March 31, 2021 — As Opening Day for Major League Baseball (MLB) approaches this week, a new Ipsos poll shows that just over half of Americans believe that MLB stadiums should operate at fewer than 50% capacity for welcoming in-person fans, with a plurality feeling that 25% to less than half capacity is the most appropriate range. In addition, around two-thirds of Americans, including those that are fans of professional baseball, support stadiums requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for fans to enter the stadium.

Detailed Findings

1. A bare majority of Americans believe that MLB stadiums should operate at less than 50% capacity for welcoming fans. Very few say no in-person fans should be allowed.

  • Overall, 51% of Americans feel baseball stadiums should welcome fans back at less than 50% capacity, with a plurality (36%) believing 25% to less than half is the most appropriate.
  • This rate is higher among MLB fans, with 62% saying that stadiums should operate at less than half capacity.
  • Just 6% of Americans, and 3% of self-described baseball fans, say no fans should be allowed in person at the start of the season.
  • Overall, one in ten say they plan to attend games in person this season, including one in three self-described big fans of MLB.

2. Around two-thirds of Americans support stadiums requiring fans to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the stadium.

  • Overall, 64% support this initiative, and 67% of MLB fans feel the same.
  • Americans over age 55 (73%) are more likely to support these extra safety measures than Americans aged 18-34 (63%) and 35-54 (56%).
  • Democrats are significantly more likely than Republicans to support showing proof of vaccination or a negative test (81% vs. 48%, respectively).


3. After a shortened 2020 season, most MLB fans are more excited for this season, compared to last season.

  • Overall, Americans are evenly split on whether they are more excited, less excited, about the same level, or not sure (about a quarter each).
  • However, half of MLB fans are more excited for this season than last season, compared to 28% who are just as excited as last year, and 18% are less excited.
  • Among fans, the Los Angeles Dodgers were the team voted most likely to win the World Series, with 14% believing that they will repeat as champions. The New York Yankees come in a close second, with 11% of MLB fans thinking they will win the World Series this year.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between March 26-29, 2021. For this survey, a sample of 1,115 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.

The sample was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,115, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-4.8 percentage points).

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]


About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP


The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Johnny Sawyer Senior Research Analyst