Sports media habits change

09 March 2011

BARCELONA: Sports fans in Europe are adopting various new digital habits, indicative of broader shifts occurring across the web, figures from Havas Sports and Entertainment show.

The company surveyed 2,264 people aged between 12 and 35 years old from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Its sample was comprised of individuals all predicted to form a "core consumer segment" in the sport market in ten years time.

Overall, 72% of respondents kept up with their favourite team and relevant events once a day or more, and 80% of this audience employed television to do so.

Among the 90% of contributors enjoying sports material on at least a weekly basis, 58.4% expected to spend greater amounts of time engaged in this pastime over the next ten years, and 35.3% should maintain existing behaviour.

A 98% majority watched content on TV, including 57% each day, while online was the only channel boasting a similar reach, as 53% use it to find news, updates, live events and other such offerings daily.

Turning to online, 50.7% of participants currently access sports websites, 46.8% log on to official team or event portals and 38.1% stream broadcasts.

Almost 26% of fans utilise Facebook and Twitter to catch up with their preferred teams and athletes, 14% read blogs and 4.1% write blogs.

Streaming is particularly popular in Germany, Italian consumers are especially active on Facebook, and Twitter is popular in the UK.

France, on average, has the lowest uptake rate throughout the online categories assessed, Havas Sports and Entertainment found.

In all, 31% of interviewees read daily newspaper sports pages, the same proportion as listening to radio broadcasts every day, but a collective 69% of these groups intend either to continue or reduce this activity.

By contrast, 99% of mobile and internet sports fans believe they will dedicate heightened attention to such channels going forward.

Between half and two-thirds of consumers in all nations would leverage laptops or PCs to view related material if TV was not available.

However, while newspapers and radio were typically the primary back-up choices, digital platforms have achieved a more pronounced role elsewhere.

For example, smartphones claimed second place in the UK on 30.7%, occupied third in France on 30.4%, and registered above 20% in all the other countries.

Palmtop devices like the iPad scored 8.6% in Italy, 5.6% in Spain, 5.2% in France, 4% in Germany and 2.5% for the UK, with younger consumers proving keen on recent technological innovations.

Approaching 50% of sports fans per market have never deployed mobile phones in pursuit of relevant content, but around half expected to do so over in the near future.

Approximately 30% of users had exploited mobile phones to access online material, the wireless activity recording the greatest penetration, followed by SMS, apps, browsing social media and streaming.

Looking ahead, 58.4% of the panel said HDTV was the medium most likely to enhance the viewing experience, with internet TV delivering 51.9%, on-demand yielding 41.3% and 3DTV reaching 39.2%.

Mobile technology secured 31%, digital radio posted 13.9% and indoor projectors brought up the rear, on 11.7%.

Data sourced from Havas Sports & Entertainment; additional content by Warc staff