Sports Fandom Culture: Global Viewing Habits and Consumption

Strategy Briefing

About This Report

Aug 2016

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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Sports Fandom Culture: Global Viewing Habits and Consumption

Sports go from strength to strength

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.



Key Findings

Executive summary

Sports Fandom on the Increase

The sports market shows continued growth
World’s top 15 sports: Football is king
World’s top sports: Football and NFL rake in the cash

How we consume sports

The many faces of sports fandom

How We Consume Sports

International tournament attendance still high
Live games still drawing in large crowds in domestic leagues
Increasing football attendance in Europe
Attendance driven by international appeal and pricing
TV rights rocket
The small screen becomes a critical way to watch sports
…and it peaks in the developing world
US: Sports watching switches from live to multi-screen
The second screen: The future of sports events

Market impact of sporting events

The sporting calendar – key events and impact

Market Impact of Sporting Events

Major sporting events impact drinks, food and sportswear
…and into markets beyond this
Beer sales boosted by football, but not athletics
Football performance has limited impact on beer sales
Soft drinks leverage marketing opportunities
Savoury snacks show loose correlation to athletics
Takeaways shine among winners, not hosts
Sports events may trigger long-term sports interest
Sponsorship deals boost sports brands…to a degree
Sports events significantly boost tourist spend and numbers
Brazil’s double tourist boom

Conclusions and recommendations

Targeting sports fans

Methodology and Definitions

Data parameters

Internet vs Store-based Shopping

Further Insight