Today, the Golden State Warriors will face the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals. According to the country’s bookmakers, the odds of the team led by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson winning the fourth title in franchise history and the first after losing to the Toronto Raptors in 2019 are high. The Celtics team built around its two star players Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, on the other hand, is considered the clear underdog despite its excellent defensive abilities. Whether the Warriors or the Celtics win the title, roughly half of sports fans in the United States, regardless of financial background, are likely to follow the Finals in some way.
As our chart based on data from our Statista Global Consumer Survey shows, approximately 56% of sports fans in the United States say they follow basketball leagues like the NBA. American football, on the other hand, remains America’s favorite sport, with 76-79% of sports fans engaging with the NFL from their couch or stadium seat.
Interestingly, the only real class difference when it comes to the four classic American sports, American football, basketball, baseball, and ice hockey, is apparent in the latter. The NFL appears to be most appealing to the upper and middle class, with only 20% of participants in the low-income bracket interested in the sport.
Participants in last year’s finals have faced considerable hurdles in the current post-season. While the 2020-21 champions Milwaukee Bucks were beaten by the Celtics in a hard-fought Conference Finals game, the undisputed Western Conference favorites and team with the highest winning percentage in the league, the Phoenix Suns, were defeated by the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals.
Although they have been absent from the Finals for the past 12 years, the Boston Celtics have a rich tradition of making the Finals. Since 1947, Boston has competed for the title 22 times and won 17 times, with only the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers appearing in more Finals games since the NBA’s inception.