Advanced Television

US: 37% watch live sport on non-TV devices

October 19, 2017

NFL Football has the most enthusiastic fan base by far, according to a study by Adobe and TDG. Using a 10-point scale, where 1 means “definitely not a fan” and 10 means “you’re a super fan”, respondents in the US were asked to rank their enthusiasm on a list of 15 sports.

  • For NFL Football, 48 per cent of live sport viewers (LSVs) rank themselves a 9 or 10.
  • Second was the Summer Olympics (38 per cent), followed by MLB (31 per cent), Winter Olympics (30 per cent), College Football (30 per cent), NBA Basketball (29 per cent)
  • During a regular season, NFL Football is most likely to be watched at least weekly by LSVs (62 per cent), followed by Summer Olympics (40 per cent) and College Football (39 per cent).

Over one-quarter of overall TV time is devoted to live sports. On average, LSVs spend 29 hours per week (4.1 hours each day) watching television at home. Of this, over one-quarter (7.4 hours per week) of the time is spent watching live sports. This is highest among 35 to 44 year olds (8 hours/week) and lowest among 55 to 65 year olds (6.3 hours/week).

37 per cent of LSVs watch live sports on non-TV devices. The largest is PCs and laptop, which is used by 27 per cent of LSVs to watch sports. Of these viewers, NFL Football is the most widely viewed on a PC during a regular season (watched by 66 per cent), as well as the most frequently viewed on a PC (28 per cent weekly, 9 per cent daily). Next is Summer Olympics (watched by 59 per cent) and NBA Basketball (watched by 51 per cent). Interestingly, 49 per cent of LSVs on a PC “at least occasionally” view live sports with the audio turned off.

  • Smartphones: 17 per cent of LSVs view live sports on their smartphones. NFL Football is the most popular and most frequently viewed (watched by 70 per cent), followed by NBA (59 per cent) and College Basketball (52 per cent).
  • Tablets: 14 per cent of LSVs view live sports on their tablets. NFL Football tops the list (watched by 67 per cent), followed by NBA (62 per cent) and MLB (61 per cent)

Social media presents growing opportunity. 91 per cent of LSVs use social networks, with Facebook being most popular (used by 81 per cent), followed by Twitter (40 per cent) and Instagram (38 per cent). However, only 32 per cent of LSVs on social media are aware that live sports broadcasts are available on the platform, of which only 8 per cent report using. Of those people, NFL Football is the most watched live sports (viewed by 86 per cent), while NBA is watched more frequently (52 per cent at least weekly, compared to 49 per cent for NFL, 40 per cent for MLB).

Free streaming services struggle with fan awareness. 50 per cent of LSVs are familiar with free streaming apps provided by their pay TV service, with 21 per cent currently using these services. However, younger viewers (25 to 44 year olds) are more likely to be familiar with these services (60 per cent).

  • Sports content is key for more adoption: Nearly half (49 per cent) rank the availability of live college and professional sports as “strongly important” in their decision to use free streaming services.

Sports fans prefer less ads, drawn to better personalisation. The number of ads generally has a negative influence on time spent watching televised sports; 29 per cent of LSVs spent more time watching a game if there are fewer ads. 23 per cent of LSVs view the relevance of ads as positive (e.g., the more relevant the ads, the more time they spend viewing).


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