Survey: Massachusetts Sports Fans Pick Greatest Moments, Worst Losses

Written By Connor Grootenhuis on March 22, 2023
Massachusetts sports fandom survey, from

It is no secret that Massachusetts is home to some of the most passionate fans in all of sports.

We surveyed 600 sports fans in Massachusetts about their fandom, as well as if they think their fandom will impact their sports betting in Massachusetts now that the industry is live.

Here’s what stood out:

Greatest triumph in Boston sports history

After decades of torment, the Boston Red Sox were finally able to break the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. It was their first World Series title since 1918. The Sox have won three World Series since 2004. But what that 2004 team was able to accomplish still lives in the hearts of Boston sports fans nearly 20 years later.

When asked about the greatest triumph in Boston sports history, 34.67% of fans chose the Red Sox breaking the curse and winning the 2004 World Series after completing the 0-3 comeback against New York Yankees in the ALCS.

Other popular answers included:

  • Patriots 2017 comeback against Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI – 21.33%
  • 2008 Celtics NBA title over Los Angeles Lakers – 12.50%
  • Bobby Orr scores iconic goal to lift Bruins to 1970 Stanley Cup – 7.33%
  • Patriots 2002 Super Bowl XXXVI victory over St. Louis Rams – 7%
  • Patriots 2015 Super Bowl XLIX win over Seattle Seahawks after Malcolm Butler’s interception – 6%
  • 1984 Celtics NBA title over Los Angeles Lakers – 5.50%

Boston sports loss that still stings the most

Massachusetts sports teams have enjoyed an abundance of success in recent decades, but fans in the state have also been through plenty of tough seasons and heartbreak.

As any sports fan knows, there are certain moments and losses that you will never forget for all the wrong reasons. That rings true for Boston sports fans.

Most notably, 29.67% of fans said the Celtics losing Game 7 of 2010 NBA Finals to the Lakers is the loss that still stings the most.

A close second was Bill Buckner letting a ground ball through his legs in the 1986 World Series against New York Mets. That was 36 years ago, but 21.67% of fans said that moment still stings the most.

Other noteworthy responses include:

  • David Tyree’s “helmet catch” in the New York Giants’ Super Bowl XLII win over the undefeated Patriots in 2008 – 18.67%
  • Philadelphia Flyers completing a comeback from 0-3 to win Game 7 of 2010 playoff series against Bruins – 12%
  • Aaron Boone’s home run for New York Yankees to defeat Red Sox in Game 7 of 2003 ALCS – 8.67%
  • Bucky Dent’s home run for the New York Yankees in 1978 tie-breaking game against the Red Sox – 8.17%

Buying stock in the Celtics

Since 2000, Massachusetts sports fans have seen the Patriots win six Super Bowls, the Red Sox win four World Series titles, the Celtics win the NBA Finals once and the Bruins win the Stanley Cup once. That’s a lot of championship parades.

More parades could be on the horizon.

Right now, the Celtics have the second-best odds to win the NBA Finals on DraftKings at +340. In addition, the Bruins are the Stanley Cup favorites with odds of +380 on DraftKings.

With hopes of multiple parades headed their way in the coming years, Play MA asked sports fans which Massachusetts sports team they would bet money on to win the most championships by 2030. Here were the results:

  • Celtics – 38.67%
  • Patriots – 25.33%
  • Bruins – 20%
  • Red Sox – 16%

Fandom affecting sports betting

It is interesting to note that 44% of fans said that their fandom could impact their sports betting, while 41.17% said it will not.

Play MA certainly doesn’t advise betting with your heart, so it’s refreshing to see this is nearly a 50/50 split.

Sports fans in Massachusetts can bet online with DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, WynnBET, and Barstool Sportsbook. Bets can be placed in-person at MGM Springfield in Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, and Plainridge Park Casino in Everett.

RELATED: Exclusive Survey Finds 51% Of MA Sports Fans Already Betting On Sports Before March 10

Other notable survey results

Favorite Massachusetts sports team

When asked which their favorite Massachusetts sports team was, here’s how respondents answered:

  • New England Patriots – 32.50%
  • Boston Red Sox – 24%
  • Boston Celtics – 23.83%
  • Boston Bruins – 19.67%

How did fans choose their favorite team?

The No. 1 answer when asked how they chose their favorite team was because “it is my hometown team.” Other popular answers included “it is the same team my family and friends root for,” and “it had may favorite player.”

Ranking experiences watching games in person

Here’s how respondents ranked their stadium and arena experiences watching Massachusetts sports teams:

  • Gillette Stadium for Patriots games – 31.33%
  • Fenway Park for Red Sox games – 27.83%
  • TD Garden for Celtics games – 23.67%
  • TD Garden for Bruins games – 17.16%

ALSO READ: 34 People On MA Voluntary Sports Betting Self-Exclusion List So Far

Survey methodology

This Play MA survey was conducted by Pollfish, an online survey platform. We surveyed 600 American adults over the age of 25 residing in Massachusetts, with a margin of error of ~5%.

Our survey had a screening question to determine if each respondent identified as a sports fan. The survey took place March 2-7, 2023. It included multiple choice, ranking and open-ended questions.

Overall, 47.8% of respondents identified as male and 52.2% identified as female. In terms of ages, 26% were 25-34, 38% were 35-44, 15% were 45-54 and 21% were 55 or older.

Photo by Associated Press
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Connor Grootenhuis

Connor Grootenhuis is the Managing Editor for Play MA covering all things gambling and sports betting in Massachusetts. Based in the Bayou State of Louisiana, he is a lifelong sports fan who believes that every loss is a bad beat and every win is easy money.

View all posts by Connor Grootenhuis