Sports Fans Go Digital to Get Their Post-Game Fix

Much as radio and TV transformed the sports fan experience when they came along, digital technology is doing so today. “In the on-demand era, people expect to get their dose of sports whenever the mood strikes them,” said a new eMarketer report, “Sports Fans Online: Examining the Digital Element of the Total Fan Experience.” “Digital channels provide much of the content that surrounds the games and extend fans’ enjoyment of sports.”The patterns of modern fandom matter to marketers because the sports audience in the US is huge. In a Marist Poll conducted in November 2011, 61% of adults answered affirmatively when asked, “Do you consider yourself to be a sports fan, or not?”

“For marketers, the growing array of sports-related activity creates multiple opportunities to reach fans,” said eMarketer. “Digital marketers have a chance to piggyback on the active interest sports inspire in people, well beyond the games themselves.”

It’s not just that sports fans are numerous, they also post high usage numbers. In a Deloitte study of internet users’ online usage during 2011, 19% of US respondents cited “reading/watching sports content” among activities they did on a daily basis. And a year-long Experian Simmons National Consumer Study, concluded last November, found one internet user in five had gone to online sports sites within the 30 days before being questioned. Among adults under age 35, one in four did.

The expanding number of channels for sports-related content also means brands don’t have to spend a fortune sponsoring sports telecasts. “Brands can use digital channels to reach an audience of active fans,” said eMarketer. “And the large size of today’s digital sports audience makes that approach more than a marketing equivalent of ‘small ball.’”


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