Advanced Television

Research: “Is the death of TV sport viewing exaggerated?”

September 15, 2021

By Chris Forrester

A report from MoffettNathanson Research (MN) looks at the “pathetic” viewing numbers for the Tokyo Olympics and compares and contrasts them with previous Games. But the study says that all TV sports viewing in the US, including the NBA, MLB, Masters and the NHL, have suffered serious declines over the past year.

The Olympics were hurt badly, and slumped 42 per cent in ratings in the US on the Rio event (and that Rio’s numbers were 35 per cent down on London’s). But MN cautions that it might be premature to write off all these major sports and their viewing numbers. MN says there has already been something of a reversal of fortune in terms of NCAA Football which has enjoyed materially higher viewing this year (over 2000) and the opening night of the NFL 2021/22 season generated the best ratings since 2015.

The report looks at the aging of (TV) sports fans and suggests that an examination of ESPN coverage and data shows dismal trends for every age group with the youngest demo crashing 43 per cent from 2014-2019. However, the NBA has done much better in the 18-49 segment.

MN also look at ‘cord cutting’ and the shift to online usage, and perhaps driven by the high cost of viewing sports on TV. The study points out that streaming the Olympics saw growth of 22 per cent to reach 4.3 billion minutes in the US on NBC’s various sites.

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Research

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