Data Study: Sports, Dating, And Online Popularity

Woman on a date at a sports game

Good news, sports fans- talking about your favorite hobby in your dating profile can get you more attention online. In fact, profiles that mention certain sports see as much as 111% more messages than the average! That’s according to the latest Sports and Dating data study conducted by our friends over at online dating site and app Zoosk.

So which sports fans get the most attention? And does it matter which team you support? We talked to the data crunchers over at Zoosk to get the inside scoop on how sports can help you build new online dating connections.

These are unprecedented times for sports and for socializing. But it’s important to keep your faith in sports and dating. In fact, this could be just the data you need to start reaching out while staying in.

Sports and Dating: A Perfect Match

When it comes to sports and dating, it’s not just the pro-athletes who have an attractiveness advantage. Simply being a sports fan can boost your chances of getting attention – especially when online dating.

Indeed, Zoosk’s latest data study of American singles showed that dating profiles that contain the word ‘sports’ get an average incoming messaging boost of 53% when compared to the site average.

For those sports fans experiencing social distancing, this may be welcome news. You’re isolated, all the major leagues are on pause, but your passion for sports still matters. In fact, it can help you build connections without leaving your home!

The Sports Most Popular with Online Daters

Talking sports is good but referring to specific spectator sports can be even more beneficial…especially when that sport is basketball. Fans of pro-basketball get the biggest attention boost of all sports lovers, with profiles including the word ‘basketball’ and/or ‘NBA’ seeing a 111% boost in average messaging rates.

Baseball fans also hit it out of the park, with the sport taking the #2 spot.  In fact, the benefit of loving baseball is almost even with that of basketball; online dating profiles with the words ‘baseball’ and/or ‘MLB’ have a 108% uptick in average message volume.

Third place is something of a wild card: rugby. Although the sport has had its ups and down in America, it’s gaining professional hold, including the launch of an official league. Now, American rugby fans have another thing to celebrate; profiles that mention ‘rugby’ get 86% more messages than the average user. That’s a higher number than for more well-known sports like football and hockey (which come in 5th and 6th place respectively).

The 10 Sports That Bring the Biggest Online Messaging Boost

SportIncoming Messaging Increase*
MMA/Mixed Martial Arts59%

*when compared to an average messaging rate

Overall, it seems that mentioning your favorite sports – any sports – can catapult your dating profile into the online messaging big leagues. But does the same effect happen with sports teams as well as general sports?

To find the answer, Zoosk investigated the teams from of America’s four most popular sports leagues: the NBA, MLB, the NFL, and the NHL. Here’s how showing your support for one of the teams in the Big Four can affect your online dating popularity.

Love and Basketball: The Most Popular NBA Fanbases

As well as getting a messaging boost from mentioning basketball, NBA fans definitely benefit from repping their favorite team in their profile. In fact, the Sports and Dating study showed that profiles with mentions of any NBA team have a higher than average messaging rate.

That said, some teams’ fans will be happier with the results than others. If you’re a Golden State Warriors fan, for instance, get that fact into your profile, pronto: accounts that mention the Warriors get around 80% more incoming messages than the average user.

The team that gives its fans the second highest boost is the Portland Trail Blazers, with a 75% increase above the average, followed by the Indiana Pacers in third place at 71%.

The NBA Teams That Bring the Biggest Online Messaging Boost

Basketball TeamIncoming Messaging Increase*
Golden State Warriors80%
Portland Trail Blazers75%
Indiana Pacers71%
Orlando Magic69%
Oklahoma City Thunder67%
Denver Nuggets65%
Phoenix Suns62%
New York Knicks55%
Chicago Bulls54%
Miami Heat52%
San Antonio Spurs51%
Milwaukee Bucks49%
Atlanta Hawks47%
Houston Rockets41%
Sacramento Kings39%
Brooklyn Nets35%
Los Angeles Clippers32%
Utah Jazz30%
Charlotte Hornets29%
Los Angeles Lakers28%
Toronto Raptors25%
Boston Celtics24%
New Orleans Pelicans21%
Washington Wizards19%
Philadelphia 76ers15%
Detroit Pistons12%
Dallas Mavericks11%
Minnesota Timberwolves8%
Memphis Grizzlies5%
Cleveland Cavaliers2%

*when compared to an average messaging rate

Field of Dreams: The Most Popular MLB Fanbases

MLB fans should be celebrating the start of the season right about now, but even with that on pause, there is a reason to keep smiling – mentioning your baseball team in your dating profile could result in a huge messaging boost.

This sports and dating boost hits hardest for Boston Red Sox fans. Dating profiles with references to the Red Sox see an 87% messaging boost: the biggest increase for any MLB team and, in fact, the biggest increase of any pro-sports team in the Big Four.

The Los Angeles Angels come in at second, with mentions of the team earning a 79% increase. Third place is a subway series; with the Mets’ 70% increase just edging out the Yankees’ 69%. That puts the Mets third overall (or, first in the National league, if Mets fans would rather focus on the pennant race!).

The MLB Teams That Bring the Biggest Online Messaging Boost

Baseball TeamIncoming Messaging Increase*
Boston Red Sox87%
Los Angeles Angels79%
New York Mets70%
New York Yankees69%
Tampa Bay Rays64%
Cleveland Indians59%
Cincinnati Reds57%
Minnesota Twins54%
Los Angeles Dodgers53%
Atlanta Braves52%
Philadelphia Phillies50%
Seattle Mariners46%
San Francisco Giants44%
Oakland A’s38%
Colorado Rockies36%
Washington Nationals34%
Baltimore Orioles32%
Miami Marlins31%
Chicago Cubs27%
Milwaukee Brewers27%
Kansas City Royals22%
Houston Astros19%
St. Louis Cardinals18%
Pittsburgh Pirates13%
Arizona Diamondbacks12%
Chicago White Sox9%
Detroit Tigers7%
San Diego Padres6%
Texas Rangers5%
Toronto Blue Jays3%

*when compared to an average messaging rate

All the Right Moves: The Most Popular NFL Fanbases

Online drafts aside, at the time of writing (April), the NFL is one of the sports least affected by the coronavirus. In fact, there’s still hope for the NFL season to start on time in September. But that doesn’t make the wait go any faster!

The good news for NFL fans? They can now wait warm in the knowledge that their favorite sport might help them get a date. Indeed, dating profiles that mention any football team(s) in the NFL see an increase in online dating activity.

The biggest uptick goes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Profiles that mention the Steelers get an average of 86% more incoming messages than the typical Zoosk profile. The Green Bay Packers are hot on their heels, with an 85% messaging boost, followed by the Dallas Cowboys on 84%.

The football pack is huddled tighter than some of the other teams in the Sports and Dating study. With the NBA , MLB, and NHL, the lowest ranked teams all see a messaging boost, but one of below 5%. With the NFL, even the lowest ranked team (the Los Angeles Chargers) still sees a double-figure messaging boost of 19% .

The NFL Teams That Bring the Biggest Online Messaging Boost

Football TeamIncoming Messaging Increase*
Pittsburgh Steelers86%
Green Bay Packers85%
Dallas Cowboys84%
New York Giants82%
Detroit Lions81%
Cleveland Browns80%
Seattle Seahawks79%
Buffalo Bills74%
Denver Broncos73%
New Orleans Saints70%
Kansas City Chiefs69%
Philadelphia Eagles68%
Cincinnati Bengals66%
Chicago Bears65%
Carolina Panthers64%
Indianapolis Colts60%
Jacksonville Jaguars59%
San Francisco 49ers58%
Minnesota Vikings56%
Baltimore Ravens52%
Washington Redskins50%
Atlanta Falcons48%
Miami Dolphins46%
Las Vegas Raiders**42%
New York Jets40%
Houston Texans39%
Tennessee Titans38%
New England Patriots37%
Arizona Cardinals26%
Los Angeles Rams24%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers22%
Los Angeles Chargers19%

*when compared to an average messaging rate
** Although in Las Vegas for 2020, at the time of the study, the Raiders were still an Oakland team

Miracle on Ice: The Most Popular NHL Fanbases

The sports and dating effect also extends to the NHL, with hockey fans getting their share of messaging uplifts. As with the other leagues, mentioning any particular team name in your profile can give you a messaging boost – albiet one slightly lower than that of the other sports in the study.

The most beneficial team to mention in your dating profile is the San Jose Sharks. Dating profiles that contain mentions of the Sharks see, on average, a messaging uplift of 66%.

The Chicago Blackhawks skate into second place, with mentions of the team resulting in a 62% messaging boost. That puts them just above the Colorado Avalanche, who sit in third place on 61%.

The NHL Teams That Bring the Biggest Online Messaging Boost

Hockey TeamIncoming Messaging Increase*
San Jose Sharks66%
Chicago Blackhawks62%
Colorado Avalanche61%
St. Louis Blues59%
New York Rangers58%
Calgary Flames56%
Nashville Predators54%
Boston Bruins53%
Detroit Red Wings52%
Florida Panthers51%
Minnesota Wild50%
Pittsburgh Penguins49%
Philadelphia Flyers48%
New Jersey Devils46%
Phoenix Coyotes44%
Carolina Hurricanes42%
New York Islanders41%
Los Angeles Kings38%
Tampa Bay Lightning37%
Montreal Canadiens36%
Las Vegas Golden Knights32%
Buffalo Sabres23%
Edmonton Oilers22%
Dallas Stars21%
Anaheim Ducks20%
Washington Capitals18%
Ottawa Senators17%
Winnipeg Jets12%
Columbus Blue Jackets9%
Vancouver Canucks7%
Toronto Maple Leafs5%

*when compared to an average messaging rate

Isolation, Sports, and Dating

The start of 2020 has been strange indeed. Dating is no exception. The way we date in-person is on the bench for now, whether it’s a drink, a movie, or even taking someone to a sports game.

But, it is important to remember one thing. The Coronavirus pandemic may mean that your date venues change – but the romance at the heart of them doesn’t have to!

Indeed, now perhaps more than ever, human connections matter. And an online dating site is still a great place to make them. Finding common ground in someone’s profile gives you a great excuse to reach out and get to know them. Really get to know them. And then, when restrictions lift, you can have a first date for the ages.

So, what better way than to create opportunities for common ground than embracing this study on sports and dating? Make the most of the fact that liking sports could make you more popular online. Put your favorite sports and sports teams in your dating profile. And make it a banner year for connecting with your fellow fans.


All data based on a Zoosk study sample of 500,000 randomly selected Zoosk members who were active on in 2019. All data used is anonymous and cannot be traced back to the original user.

Full disclaimer:

The National Basketball Association (“NBA”) name and the names of the NBA teams are the property of NBA Properties, Inc. and the respective member teams of the NBA. Zoosk is not associated with or sponsored by NBA Properties, Inc. or any of the member teams of the NBA. The Major League Baseball (“MLB”) name and the names of the MLB teams are the property of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. and the respective member teams of the MLB. Zoosk is not associated with or sponsored by Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or any of the member teams of the MLB. The National Hockey League (“NHL”) name and the names of the NHL teams are the property of NHL Enterprises, L.P. and the respective member teams of the NHL. Zoosk is not associated with or sponsored by NHL Enterprises, L.P. or any of the member teams of the NHL. The National Football League (“NFL”) name and the names of the NFL teams are the property of NFL Properties LLC and the member teams of the NFL. Zoosk is not associated with or sponsored by NFL Properties LLC or any of the member teams of the NFL. The Major League Soccer (or MLS) name is the property of Major League Soccer, L.L.C. Zoosk is not associated with or sponsored by Major League Soccer, L.L.C. The NASCAR name is the property of National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC. Zoosk is not associated with or sponsored by National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC. All other sports-related trademarks appearing herein are trademarks of their respective owners.


The Date Mix Editorial Team

The Date Mix Editorial Team brings you the best dating tips and relationship advice. We’re on hand to answer your questions and help you navigate the world of online dating with practical pointers, top expert insights and data-led research.

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