How Fans Are Consuming Sports in the 2020s

How Fans Are Consuming Sports in the 2020s

Nothing stays the same forever and that statement is certainly applicable to the way in which fans have been consuming sports in the last few years. New shifts in attitudes and the demands of fans have prompted the sports industry to change how it offers live and related content. 

Below, we’ll look at the new ways in which people are consuming sports in the 2020s. In particular, we’ll explore how fans are watching live games through betting apps that allow them to make NFL point spreads bets at the same time. 

We’ll also look at a case study exploring new subscription services and how the popularity of related content has grown. 

But first, let’s check out the biggest change in the consumption of sports – and that’s through digital live streaming services.

New live streaming services

It feels as if the global pandemic has impacted near enough every area of our lives. One of those aspects is the way in which we consume sports.

With live sporting events forced to take place in empty stadiums and arenas, the industry had to innovate in its offerings to fans. 

One of these innovations is the introduction of digital platforms that allow people to stream live sports either on their mobile devices, their game consoles or their desktop computers. 

It’s now estimated that around 40% of all sports fans across the globe prefer streaming their favorite sports through digital platforms such as DAZN and NBA League Pass. We’ll look at the latter in more detail below. 

A number of betting sites have also expanded their services to offer players the ability to watch certain live sports events through their apps or websites. 

The impact of these new digital platforms is that more and more people are able to watch a greater variety of sports.

Nielsen, the global leader in measuring audience data and behaviors, found in its sports marketing survey that the value of media rights for sports has risen significantly due to this increase in demand. 

For example, between 2014 and 2018, there was little demand for the ATP 1000 World Tennis Tour. However, between 2019 and 2023, that demand is expected to rise by a massive 31%. There’s a similar increase in value for the rights to the Copa Libertadores in South America. 

Digital platforms have empowered how people consume sports. No longer do fans have to bust a gut to get home to watch the match live – they can stream a broadcast or recording of the live event that they can watch wherever they may be. 

This has also led to a rise in the popularity of related, non-live content, which we’ll discuss next. 

The popularity of related content

Related content includes the likes of pre and post-match interviews, match announcements, highlights, recaps and podcasts. 

This kind of content has seen a surge in popularity, particularly on digital platforms. For example, if someone missed a live match but they don’t have the time to watch a recording of the full event, they may choose to watch extended highlights. Or if time is really tight, they could watch a 90-second recap.

Nielsen, in its report, found that just under 44% of fans between the ages of 16 and 29 consume non-live content via digital platforms. 

This extra content has also proved popular for people who like to listen and engage with it while carrying out other tasks. Those of the Gen Z era, for instance, reportedly enjoy playing games online while consuming non-live sports content. Some may use other apps, such as social media platforms too. 

Digital platforms give people greater freedom, and that’s something that new users seem to appreciate.

Case study – NBA League Pass

One sport that has embraced the digital shift is basketball and in particular, the NBA. A few seasons ago, they introduced their League Pass. For a reasonable fee, fans are granted access to every single match in the NBA season, the playoffs and the championship. 

Fans also have the ability to watch recordings of games if they cannot make the live event. This is of great benefit to fans located outside of the US, who may be unable to tune in during the middle of the night. 

The NBA League Pass app provides lots of interviews with players and coaches, and a range of highlight and recap options, such as extended highlights. It also allows fans to hide scores, so they can watch games without any potentially disappointing spoilers.

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