The US pay-TV sector relies more on sports and National Football League (NFL) fans than ever before with 90 per cent of sports fans subscribing to pay-TV, according to a new survey on sports viewership, fandom, and betting by strategy consulting group Altman Vilandrie & Company.
The survey, which polled 5000 US consumers in August on a wide range of sports entities (21 sports leagues, 300+ teams and 400+ athletes), is dominated by the NFL, with 14 of the top 25 top-ranked favourite sports entities to watch coming from the NFL. The NFL was the top favourite league to watch and had five of the top six favourite teams, led by the Green Bay Packers.
Still, the survey shows strong fandom for other sports leagues and athletes: the National Basketball Association has two of the top three athletes to watch in the rankings, with Steph Curry (#1) and LeBron James (#3) joining Tom Brady (#2). Tennis legend Serena Williams is the top individual-sport athlete to watch, ahead of Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. Major League Baseball (MLB) was the second ranked favourite sports entity with the top team overall in the New York Yankees.
Altman Vilandrie & Company also finds that younger viewers (18-24) have many more favourite sports than older viewers and are much more likely to watch the NBA, eSports, fighting (UFC and boxing), and professional European football (Champions League, EPL) than older viewers and less likely to watch the NFL.
“There’s no question that the NFL dominates the current survey but the breadth and diversity of sports interest among younger viewers predicts a shift in the American sports TV landscape,” said Altman Vilandrie & Company Principal Matt Del Percio. “Sports fans now have many more viewing choices than ever and pay-TV providers must find ways to reach new fan bases while retaining fans for traditional sports who subscribe at very high rates.”
Other key findings include:
“The rapid legalisation of sports gambling by states provides an opportunity for pay-TV providers and leagues to attract younger viewers who are literally invested in the outcome of the games,” said Del Percio.