Study: which sports fans experience the most stress?

Publish Date: 10/31/2023
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Cheering for your favorite team with a pounding heart and sweaty palms? You’re not alone! Watching a crucial sports match ranks in the top 3 most anxiety-inducing activities among American sports enthusiasts, according to a fresh study by The Grueling Truth. We explored where the most jittery sports fans reside, which sports trigger the most stress, and whether the stress-o-meter spikes when attending events like family reunions or work meetings, compared to witnessing a crucial game. Need a bit of relaxation? Take a tiny break from checking the latest US Sports news & rumors, and dive into all the discoveries right here.

How stressed do sports fans get during big games?

On average, American sports fans rate their stress while watching a crucial match at 5.5 on a scale of 10. This level of stress is higher than attending a work meeting (5.4/10), embarking on a long journey (5/10), tackling a DIY project (4.7/10), going to a family reunion (4.4/10), or attending a birthday party (3.8/10). Taking an exam and talking in public are the only activities that rank higher on the stress scale than watching a nail-biting game.

Baseball fans suffer the most

Of all the surveyed sports enthusiasts, baseball fans experience the highest level of stress during a crucial game, scoring 6 on a scale of 10. This puts them ahead in the top 10. Ice hockey supporters come in second place with a stress level of 5.9 out of 10, followed by basketball aficionados (5.8/10).

Family gatherings vs. sports games

With the holidays approaching, it’s likely that stress levels will rise, especially among auto racing fans. On average, they experience more stress during a family reunion than when watching an important race. Furthermore, MMA enthusiasts claim to have a higher stress level when attending a birthday party compared to watching a crucial fight. For those looking to add an extra layer of excitement, betting on these events through the best US sportsbooks can enhance the thrill of the experience.

Do you break out in a sweat at the thought of a DIY project waiting for you? This appears to be particularly true for cycling and auto racing fans. They claim to experience more stress during DIY tasks than while watching a make-or-break race. Moreover, these same auto racing fans, along with golf enthusiasts, are the only sports fans among those surveyed who feel more stressed during a long journey than when they’re watching a big game.

Sports stress by state

When it comes to the question of where the most stressed-out sports fans reside, the answer is loud and clear: sports enthusiasts in Idaho experience the most stress while watching a crucial game. They rate their stress level at an average of 7.5 on a scale of 10. Residents of Louisiana, Utah, and West Virginia follow closely, with a score of 7/10. Oregonians, on the other hand, seem to be the best at keeping their cool. Sports fans there rate their stress levels during a critical match at only 2.5.

Company matters

To what extent does our company affect the experience? Nearly a quarter of the respondents mention feeling more stressed when watching an important sports game by themselves. On the other hand, 16% find themselves more stressed when they watch with family, and 15% notice an extra surge in stress when watching with friends. The largest group, 45%, claims that it doesn’t make any difference, with various factors such as sports betting odds potentially influencing individual experiences.

Finally, we asked the respondents how they typically express their stress during an important game. A whopping third of them admit to shouting at the TV, while a slightly smaller percentage (29%) prefer to stay calm and show as little emotion as possible. Additionally, 14% turn to friends for support, and 10% opt for distraction by doing something else, like taking a walk or tackling household chores. The smallest group, 6% of the respondents, attempts to combat stress through superstitions and lucky rituals.


In October 2023, we conducted a survey among 1,249 sports fans from across the United States. They were asked about their favorite sports, the level of stress they experience during various activities, and how they manage stress while watching a crucial sports event. Among the respondents, 60% were male, 39% were female, and 1% identified as non-binary. The average age of the respondents was 43.8 years.

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