STAMFORD, CT: Pay-TV providers who have been coping with the growing trend of "cord-cutting" may be encouraged by a new survey, which suggests sports content could encourage former subscribers to return.

Research firm Frank N. Magid Associates polled more than 2,880 pay-TV and 317 broadband-only viewers in the US for the ONE World Sports network.

Among respondents who have cut the pay-TV cord in the last two years and yet might consider returning, nearly two-fifths (39%) cite sports channels as a reason to return, the survey established.

The popularity of sport in the US is also confirmed in the survey with nearly 9-in-10 (88%) of sports fans saying they watch sports on a TV set, with broadcast networks leading (73%), followed by cable sports networks (62%) and general entertainment networks (60%).

An increasing number of sports fans are going online, the report confirmed, with more than a third (37%) of respondents saying they often watch streamed sport online while nearly three-fifths (57%) say they watch sports online in some way.

In terms of device, these viewers typically prefer larger digital screens, such as computers (37%) and over-the-top video to a TV (26%), although tablets and smartphones are each used by a quarter (25%).

"Sports remains the most DVR-proof form of video content," said Alexander Brown, president and CEO of ONE World Sports.

"The excitement, immediacy and community around sports contests demand live viewing, whether that viewing takes place via an antenna, or a pay-TV provider, or via a live web stream.

"Whatever the format, the findings support that people want to watch sports live, and on the best – typically largest and most crisp – available screen."

The survey went on to reveal that a quarter of all broadband-only consumers cut the cord within the last two years – with millennials making up the majority (52%) of these consumers – but about half (51%) of all cord-cutters have done so for more than five years.

"Since the majority of cord-cutters are millennials, this response supports our view that younger Americans are not only increasingly multicultural, but are ready to embrace global TV content such as sports from around the world," said Brown.

Data sourced from ONE World Sports, PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff