The changing behaviour of sport fans

There is no doubt that the increase in digital media consumption has influenced the way fans engage with sports content. The recent 2022 global sports market report from Nielsen delves deeper into the behavioural shifts with fan engagement, and we’ve summarised some key findings below.

The continued adoption of OTT platforms

  • The move away from more traditional forms of media, has been fuelled by the substantial rise in the adoption of OTT options, leading to an increased number of platforms for sports content. This reflects the increased value of OTT media rights which for the UEFA Champions League, in the top 5 European markets grew from 5% in 2018 to 23% in 2021.

The rise of non-live content consumed digitally

  • The demand for content related to a live event (match announcements, highlights, recap videos, etc.) is almost as high as it is for the digitally delivered events themselves. Just under 44% of fans aged 16-29 who watch non-live sports content (docuseries, behind the scenes, virtual events, etc.) related to live matches do so via digital.

When one-screen isn’t enough especially for Gen-Z audiences

  • 47% of the people who watch sports on TV or digital platforms simultaneously watch other live content, much higher than the general population (33%). Much of the second-screen activity is related to social media engagement with Gen-Z driving the greatest usage.

 Video-based social media complements the live experience

  • Engagement with video-based social media channels has also grown as fans are eager to play a role in content creation, with newer platforms TikTok and Twitch gaining on more traditional platforms (YouTube, Facebook and Instagram) posting respective usage gains of 30% and 21% between April 2020 and August 2021.

Influencers are driving personal connections

  • 71% of consumers either completely or somewhat trust ads and opinions from influencers about brands and products, which is notably higher than channels like online banners, mobile ads, search engine ads and SMS messages.

Fans want action – and progress from brands

  • From a messaging perspective, fans are looking to sponsors that champion societal issues they believe in, however currently only 9% of people strongly agree that the measures big brands are taking around pertinent issues are improving the connection between brands and fans.

This report highlights the importance of ensuring that content created reflects brands’ and sports organisations’ true values and remains relevant to their fans and audiences and that a priority should be placed on your content distribution strategies across multiple platforms to ensure that you are engaging with your fans on the platforms and devices they spend their time on.

This is where Story10 could help. We hold the expertise to deliver real-time sports news video that highlights key messaging and gives your brand relevance, authenticity, and engagement. While with our unique global distribution network of owned and earned channels, we can put your content in front of engaged audiences on any platform, in any region, in real-time.


Source: Nielsen. Fans are changing the game: Our 2022 Global Sports Marketing Report. Fans are Changing the Game.