Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sports Fans Moving Online

TV used to be the overwhelmingly dominant medium for sports coverage, as well as sports news and commentary.  While TV remains a valued and important source, a recent survey conducted by Burst Media indicates that those naming TV as their primary source for sports information has dropped below 50%.  Perhaps more critically, more than a quarter of respondents identified content Web sites as their primary source for sports information.  Looking towards the future suggests that the gap between TV and the Web will continue to shrink - when respondents were asked to indicate what they thought was the best source for news, TV's share shrunk to 41.3%, while content sites rose to a 35.4% share.
  The growing importance of the Internet as a source for sports information is reflected in other survey results.
  • 35.1% of sports fans report going online at least once a day for sports-related reasons (the share jumps to 66.8% for tthose who self-identify as dedicated fans
  • 34.7% of younger sports fans (18-34) report they frequently use social media to comment on or share sports content (that stat drops to 15% for the 35-54 demographic and 5% for those over 55)
  • 31.6% of sports fans use tablets for sports, and 45.7% report using smartphones to access online sports content
  • 35.7% report using mobile devices to access online sports content while they watch sporting events on TV
  • while casual fans reflect the general population in terms of demographics, those identifying themselves as devoted sports fans skew heavily male (79.0%), more educated (50.6% having at least a college degree), and higher income (43.7% are in high income households).
  The results suggest that sports fans are finding value in online and mobile sources for sports content and information.  Combine that with the younger fans' adoption of social media as a platform for connecting with other fans, and you can see the foundation for increased use of online and mobile media as valuable sources for sports information.

  I think that TV's larger screen will keep it the predominant and preferred source for watching sporting events live.  On the other hand, the Internet offers access to a wide range of sports content and information beyond that, in a format that's easily searchable, available any time and almost everywhere, can be interactive and social, and is readily customizable to the user's specific preferences as a sports fan.  The Internet's already overtaken TV, cable, and newspapers as the preferred source for news (for many of the same reasons).  It probably won't be long before we see the same shift in preference for sports information (if perhaps not as quickly for watching live sporting events).
  Now the methodologist in me will note that the survey sample targeted U.S. online users, not the general population, so some inflation of the online numbers should be expected in the survey's findings.  On the other hand, with more than 80% of US adults online, the differences between online adults and the general population are becoming minimal.

Source -  Sports Fans Turn More to Web, Social MediaOnlineMediaDaily

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