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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Study Finds: These Sports Fans Are Least Likely To Date A Rival Supporter

Study Finds: These Sports Fans Are Least Likely To Date A Rival Supporter

Publish Date: 08/25/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Those who believe that sports fanatics would choose to score points in love rather than on the field are in for a surprise. A staggering 44% of American sports enthusiasts actually prefer catching a crucial game over enjoying a romantic evening with their partner, a study by The Grueling Truth reveals.

Sports: a potential love dealbreaker

With the new sports season about to kick off, the ‘game plan’ for love becomes equally evident. It’s not just about having a good heart and a charming smile – a whopping 1 out of 10 American sports enthusiasts even considers their (future) partner cheering for a different team a potential relationship dealbreaker.

Love vs. The Game infographic 1

Most fanatical supporters by state

Sports fans in West Virginia are the least likely to hit it off with a supporter of a rival team. Fifty percent of them consider it important to very important that their partner cheers for the same team as they do. This sentiment is shared by a third of sports lovers from states like Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Louisiana.

We’d rather grab a drink with our sports heroes

What could possibly top a romantic candlelit evening with your significant other? An evening out with your sports idols, it turns out. A whopping 1 in 3 American sports lovers would rather hit the town with their sports hero(es) than with their own partner.

When asked if they’d feel comfortable attending a sports game with their partner if they were cheering for the opposing team, over 1 out 10 respondents answered negatively. In fact, 5% admit they wouldn’t even want to accompany their partner to a match if it’s the rival team.

In that regard, American sports fans seem much more accommodating when it comes to tweaking the decor and merchandise of their favorite teams. Twenty-one percent of respondents would adapt to their partner’s preferences, and 57% would aim to reach a compromise.

Love vs. The Game infographic NFL fans

Most passionate NFL fans

When it comes to NFL fans specifically, supporters of the Arizona Cardinals are the most demanding when it comes to their partner supporting the same team. Sixty-seven percent of them find it important for them and their partner to be on the same page when it comes to a favorite team. Fans of the Los Angeles Chargers also rank high at 46%, as do supporters of the Las Vegas Raiders (38%). Fans of the New Orleans Saints are at the bottom of the list and actually have no issues if their loved one cheers for a different team.


We surveyed 1,089 sports fans from across all states, asking them about the importance of their (potential) partner supporting the same sports team, their preference for an evening out with a sports hero or their partner, and their NFL team loyalty. We also inquired about their willingness to compromise on merchandise choices. Respondents included 69% male, 30% female, and 1% identifying as non-binary, with an average age of 42 years.

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