Sports fandom is more popular than ever, as sports increase their international reach through TV and streaming. Opportunities for leveraging sales of food, drinks, tourism, sportswear and merchandise now need to take into consideration changing consumption habits, as viewers shift to multi-screen sports watching, and engage more with social media.
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International TV rights and streaming have helped to stimulate interest in sports across the globe, and the spiralling value of TV rights and sponsorship deals means that sports revenues are consistently increasing.
Football is king
By all measures, football ranks as the world’s most popular sport, and also generates the most income. Sources disagree on the other top sports, but NFL, basketball, cricket and athletics are all significant.
Live sport remains popular
Attendances at live games remain high, with major sports events usually selling out. Domestic leagues are also faring well in many sports, particularly European football, with England and Germany garnering large audiences.
Multi-screen gains traction
At the same time, sports watching is becoming more diverse, with consumers not only watching on TV but also on small screens – desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Some leagues are tapping into this, with NFL about to sell streaming rights separately to TV rights. Multi-screen watching is also on the rise, with viewers watching two games simultaneously, or following social media or commentary on a game while watching it.
Sport events offer diverse market opportunities
Sports events can boost tourism, sales of food and beverages, and sportswear. Even at global level, a spike was seen in most of these markets in 2012, the year of the London Olympics and UEFA Cup in Poland/Ukraine. It can also be leveraged for indirectly related markets through clever marketing.
Future of sports is digital
Future sports events will be predicated on digital channels, with more consumers watching via smartphone and engaged via social media. Targeting sports fans will increasingly require a connected approach.