How Sports Fans’ Habits Are Changing in A Digital-First World
The sports industry has witnessed a massive transformation in the way fans engage with their favorite clubs and athletes during the 21st century.
Global adoption of digital technologies has revolutionized how fans interact with the sports sector, creating a landscape where they feel more connected than was previously the case.
With that in mind, read on as we take a closer look at some of the key ways sports fans’ habits are changing in a digital-first world.
Digital & Gen Z
When it comes to engaging with the most valuable teams in sports, the new generation of fans simply cannot get enough of digital technology.
Studies have shown that younger audiences are consuming sports content at an equal or greater rate than previous generations but in different ways. Recent research by data and market measurement experts Nielsen found that 46 percent of younger fans preferred to watch live sports on smartphones or tablets.
Younger fans are also far more likely to play video games and engage in fantasy games while watching live sports broadcasts.
Around 55% of Gen Z respondents also expect to be able to access interactive live data and statistics a sports event is taking place.
Traditional Broadcasting & Streaming
The growing prevalence of live-streaming technology was forecast to have a damaging impact on traditional broadcasting, but this has not transpired just yet.
Four in every ten sports fans globally watch sports events via streaming platforms, but around half of them are also using traditional outlets at the same time.
This would appear to suggest that streaming is supporting traditional broadcast services rather than replacing them, although it is unclear how long this will continue.
Most established broadcasters have recognized the threat streaming platforms pose to their businesses and introduced services of their own.
Consumption of live sports is undoubtedly in a transitional phase as a result of shifting viewer habits and it will be intriguing to see how this develops over the next few years.
Personalization & Control
One of the most noteworthy digital trends amongst modern sports fans is their desire to engage with more personalized content when they watch live action.
This manifests itself in being handed greater control of the content during an event, thus creating an environment where fans experience a heightened level of engagement.
Different camera angles, exclusive replays, and in-game social media interactions are among the ways that personalization enhances live sports consumption. Personalized advertising and marketing have also become increasingly prevalent as broadcasters and streaming platforms harvest user data insights to better inform their output.
This has helped to make the sports industry even more attractive to sponsors, who can use this information to accurately target their products at the right audience.
Digital Assets & NFTs
The jury remains out on the legitimacy of selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other digital assets in sports today, but the early signs suggest the practice has plenty of potential.
In simple terms, NFTs and digital assets can be stored on a blockchain and allow for exclusive memorabilia and other items to be sold to fans. The NBA, NFL, and Premier League are amongst the organizations that have already dipped their toe in the water as they strive to maximize potential revenue streams.
Virtual access tokens may be used in the future to provide a limited number of fans with direct access to coaches and players, further enhancing their engagement with sports. While there are still some regulatory issues to overcome where blockchain is concerned, the possibilities could well be endless for the sports industry.
This article has been published in accordance with Socialnomics’ disclosure policy.