Did a curse (of the true witchcraft variety) hamstring the Denver Broncos at the Superbowl this year? While you may be laughing at the idea, many Americans aren't. In fact, half of them "see the supernatural" influencing sports, including the performance of their local teams. For many this is as simple as praying for their team to win. Others are a little more exotic in their beliefs.

According to the Public Religion Research Institute, "One-in-four (25%) Americans who report being a fan of a particular team believe that their team has been cursed at some point in time."

The extensive stats in the full summary of the report break down the numbers by religious/denominational affiliation, race, and geography, among other factors. A few items of interest:

  • Roughly 1-in-5 sports fans (19%) and similar numbers of all Americans (22%) believe that God plays a role in determining the outcomes of sporting events.
  • More than one-quarter (26%) of sports fans report having prayed for God to help their team.
  • Midwest fans are substantially more likely than fans living in other regions to report that their team has been cursed. One-third of fans living in the Midwest say their team has been cursed, compared to 27% of fans living in the West, 22% of fans in the South, and 20% of fans in the Northeast.
  • Football fans stand out in their belief in the supernatural. Compared to other fans, football fans are more likely to see supernatural forces at work in their favorite sport (55% vs. 44%).
Research  |  Trends
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