The stars are front and center, fans are cheering, and everyone is out of their seats. No one can sit still. They are all captivated by the performance.
When you imagine a scene like this, what do you see? At first, you’ll probably envision one of two things: athletes playing a sport or musicians playing a concert, while the crowd goes wild. Sporting events and concerts can have more in common than you might think. But if you had to choose, where would you rather be?
We asked our readers whether they agreed with the statement, “You would rather attend a sports event than a concert.” Sports may be all about competition, but in this case, music took a decisive victory. Just 29% of readers agreed overall – meaning that 71% would prefer to attend a concert. In fact, not a single personality type agreed with our statement in a majority.
Clearly, music has a more universal appeal than sports. With a seemingly infinite variety of musical options to explore, almost everyone can find at least one genre, style, or performer that they enjoy. When it comes to sports, the options are much more limited.
Beyond that, how do our personality traits play into these results? Which personality types are more interested in watching a game in the stadium, even if they also enjoy listening to music on the stage? Let’s find out.
Sentinels and Explorers (33% and 31% agreeing)
Observant Sentinels and Explorers demonstrated more interest in sporting events than their Intuitive cousins. Observant personalities pay close attention to what’s going on around them, and they may enjoy following the play-by-play action of a sporting event. Sentinels have a slight edge because of their shared Judging personality trait, which helps them appreciate the rules and structure of sports.
For Sentinels, a well-planned musical performance by a longtime favorite artist can be a real treat, even more so in the company of family or friends. Explorers are likely attracted to the go-with-the-flow atmosphere of concerts, especially in settings like large music festivals that offer plenty of opportunities to discover new bands, make new friends, and have new experiences.
Of all the personality types, Assertive Executives (ESTJ-A) demonstrated the most interest in going to sports events (49%). Executives are big believers in hard work, dedication, and integrity. Sporting events (ideally) provide a satisfying outlet for watching these values pay off in a competitive environment – and for seeing real consequences for slackers and rule-breakers. These personality types enjoy music too, though, and just over half would rather go to a concert.
Thinking personality types agreed with our statement at a higher rate than Feeling types. Analysts in particular tend to be competitive, which draws many of them to sporting events. Sports that involve a high level of strategy or statistical probabilities tend to be a good fit for Analysts.
But Analysts are also quite creative, and their shared Intuitive trait tempered their agreement somewhat. Concerts can be excellent places to experience creative inspiration, and the right kind of musical performance in the right setting can really send an Analyst’s imagination soaring.
Diplomats showed the lowest preference for sporting events, notably lower than the other Roles. Diplomats’ combination of Intuitive and Feeling personality traits makes them value harmony and positive feelings over the competition and divisiveness of sports. There are certainly Diplomats who are die-hard sports fans and tough athletes themselves, but a strong majority would prefer to go to a concert.
Along with soaking up the creative, artistic energy of concerts, Diplomats enjoy making emotional connections – with the music, with the performers, with their fellow concertgoers, and even with the venue itself.
Turbulent Mediators (INFP-T) were the least likely personality type to agree that they’d rather go to a sports event than a concert (16%). Dreamy and poetic, Mediators have a unique understanding of and appreciation for the personal self-expression that goes into musical performances. And they’ll look back on the meaningful memories they’ve made at concerts for years to come.
People Mastery and Confident Individualism (37% and 32% agreeing)
The Assertive personality trait corresponded with the highest agreement in this study, and also with the largest gap between traits: Assertive types were 12 percentage points more likely than Turbulent types to agree that they’d rather attend a sports event than a concert. So while most People Masters and Confident Individualists prefer concerts, these self-confident personalities are also generally more comfortable with the competition, risk, and pressure involved with sports.
People Masters, as Extraverts, agreed at a slightly higher rate than Introverted Confident Individualists. Compared to Introverted personalities, Extraverts are more likely to appreciate the fast-moving action, the unpredictable excitement, and the interpersonal dynamics involved with sports.
Sporting events and concerts alike provide plenty of opportunities for the socialization and stimulation that Extraverts crave. Introverts, on the other hand, can be easily bothered by crowds and noise, so attending either a sports event or a concert might not be high on their list of things to do anyway.
Social Engagement and Constant Improvement (25% and 22%)
Compared to Assertive personality types, Turbulent Social Engagers and Constant Improvers tend to have stronger emotional reactions and to be more sensitive to pressure. The conflict and physical struggle of sports, the emotional investment in wanting to see one competitor win, and the uncertainty about who will prevail may all prove more stressful than enjoyable to many Turbulent individuals. For many people, music provides a more personally meaningful experience, and concerts may fuel Turbulent types’ emotions in a more positive, relaxing way.
As with the other two Strategies, Extraverted Social Engagers agreed at a slightly higher rate than Introverted Constant Improvers.
Despite the clear popularity of music in this study, many of our readers did identify themselves as being bigger sports fans. Our research indicates that sporting events are most likely to draw Observant, Thinking, and Assertive personality types, largely due to the action, the strategy, the competition, and the sheer excitement of witnessing peak athletic performance.
Music and sports both have the power to bring people together. But they can also divide. If you have strong opinions about music vs. sports, or about a certain genre of music or a certain sports team, then you may find yourself at odds with other people in your life. Rather than clashing with others, perhaps understanding how personality traits influence these preferences can help bring you closer together.
Which would you vote for: concerts or sports events? Tell us what you like best in the comments below!