As the 2014 Super Bowl approaches, half of all sports fans see some aspect of the supernatural at play in sports, meaning they either pray to God to help their team, have thought their team was cursed at some point in time, or believe that God plays a role in determining the outcome of sporting events.
One-in-four (25 percent) Americans who report being sports fans believe their favorite team has been cursed at some point in time. Fans living in the Midwest are substantially more likely than fans living in other regions to believe that their team has been cursed, with one-third (33 percent) reporting their team has been cursed compared to 27 percent of fans living in the West, 22 percent of fans in the South, and 20 percent of fans in the Northeast.
More than one-quarter (26 percent) of sports fans report having prayed for God to help their team. White evangelical Protestant (38 percent), white mainline Protestant (33 percent) and minority Protestant (29 percent) sports fans are considerably more likely than Catholic (21 percent) or religiously unaffiliated (15 percent) fans to say they have prayed for divine assistance.
Roughly 1-in-5 sports fans (19 percent) and similar numbers of Americans overall (22 percent) believe God plays a role in determining the outcomes of sporting events. White non-Hispanic sports fans (12 percent) are less likely than non-white sports fans (30 percent) to believe that God plays a role in determining winners and losers in sports contests. Of fans who believe that God plays a role in determining outcomes, a majority (52 percent) say they have prayed to God to help their team.
For more on Americans’ views on the role of religion in sports, be sure to check out the full survey here!