FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 12: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick joins fans watching game play against the Washington Football Team in the first half at Gillette Stadium on August 12, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Channel Media & Market Research shared the results of their annual New England Sports Survey. If you’re unfamiliar with this exercise, here is an explanation as given in the survey document.

Channel Media & Market Research, a leading data collection and market research organization, conducted an independent study among residents of New England about their opinions about the professional sports teams in the region (a similar study was conducted in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020). The focus of this study was to determine respondents’ opinions about issues related to the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics and New England Revolution.

Channel Media & Market Research wanted to examine what teams and players fans admire, how they rate each organization, what they believe could be improved, which sports radio and TV personalities and shows are their favorites and to poll the fans on important issues related to these teams. Over 16,000 (16,077 actual) people participated in this research and this is again one of the most extensive sports surveys ever done in the New England region. This report contains the results of the questions each survey participant answered and provides a unique look into what the fans of New England really think about the teams they follow.

This study was executed between September 1, 2021 and September 7, 2021. The survey was conducted online using independent list sources (none of which was associated with any team, television and/or radio station and was not the same sample utilized in previous surveys). Respondents were invited to participate in the survey via an email invitation and each participant could only access the survey once.

How did each local team fare in this year’s survey? Here’s what stood out among the replies.

All graphs and charts are courtesy of Channel Media & Market Research

  • Region-wide results

    New England remains a football region, with the Patriots regaining some ground they lost last year. Meanwhile, the Celtics took a bit of a stumble after their early playoff exit.

    The Revs hype is real! Most New England sports fans clearly recognize the upward trajectory the team is on. The Patriots are also viewed as a team on the rise following their mini-rebuild this spring.

    The COVID-19 vaccine has been a common talking point in New England sports ever since Cam Newton had to miss three days during the last week of training camp. Most fans in the area would support a vaccine mandate for pro athletes.

  • New England Patriots

    It felt like the discourse around the Patriots’ quarterback situation was decisive at times throughout training camp. Yet by the time a decision was made, 88 percent of fans at lead somewhat agreed with letting the former MVP go.

    Fans seemed to go in two different directions with this question. Some favored a skilled pass catcher to help Mac Jones and the young offense along, while others went right to an upgrade at the quarterback position. Then there’s the group still mesmerized with Chase Young’s sack in Week 1 of the preseason. Can you blame them?

    Two of the fans’ favorite players from 2020 are no longer on the team, and there’s a real chance all five listed here won’t be in New England beyond this season. An indication of how much things are changing down at 1 Patriot Place.

  • Boston Bruins

    Bruins fans still remain divided about the team’s plans at goalie. 49 percent would like to see him return in 2022, while 41 percent are at least somewhat against his return.

    Despite the disagreement on Rask, Bruins fans more than anything else want to see the team improve offensively, both in approach and personnel.

    The return of Adam McQuaid in a coaching role was the most popular move of the offseason. Surprisingly, Taylor Hall’s new contract was not as widely well received as it seemed at the time.

  • Boston Celtics

    Brad Stevens’ vacating his spot on the bench ultimately scored higher than Danny Ainge’s departure, but was more divisive, picking up more ‘poor’ votes as well as ‘excellent’ votes. That being said, fans aren’t thrilled about Stevens’ new role either.

    Unsurprisingly, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown ran away with this category. Carsen Edwards sneaks into the fifth spot, and appears to be drawing the admiration of Celtics fans pretty quickly.

    Despite a number of rumors that he could end up in Boston next offseason, Bradley Beal was only the fourth-most wanted player among Celtics fans. A trio of MVP candidates rank ahead of him.

  • New England Revolution

    The Revolution are currently the best team in MLS, and fans seem to be taking notice. 43 percent are watching the team more than they did a year ago.

    A potential new, soccer-specific stadium for the Revolution has been a talking point in New England for some time. As the team continues to improve, that conversation will likely only get louder.

    Messi to Foxborough? Make it happen.

  • Boston Red Sox

    Xander Bogaerts is Boston’s favorite baseball player for the second year in a row. Alex Verdugo even showing up on this list is a testament of how far he’s come from being ‘the guy traded for Mookie Betts.’

    On the field, the addition of Hunter Renfroe is seen as a great move by fans. There also appears to be a positive reaction to NESN adding more former players to the broadcast.

    Red Sox fans are not satisfied with their team’s pitching in any sense. We’ll see if that’s an area they look to address this offseason.

  • More...

    For more on the 2021 Channel Media & Market Research New England Sports Survey, check out today’s segments from Zolak & Bertrand and Felger & Mazz below.