White Paper: The Rise of the E-Fan – How a New Generation of Sports Fans Is Connecting With the Latest Action and Legacy Content

According to a survey in the UK and the U.S., 80% of people watch sports at home or on cellphones

Six months on from the Olympics, and its sports legacy lives on. A survey of 2,000 people in the UK and the U.S. undertaken by FTI Consulting in association with video-management company Imagen has shown that eight in 10 people watch sports at home or on cellphones, and more than half doing so at least once a week. What’s more, the average person watches three sports, dispelling any myths that loyalties are tied to one team or one sport.

CLICK HERE to download a copy of the full survey analysis.

imagen rise of the efanLive television is in decline, with the proliferation of mobile devices transforming how we watch sports content.
We now spend 60% of our viewing time on non-live television, which is particularly the case for the 18-29 age group. Technology has disrupted the model when, as recently as five to 10 years ago, we would have planned our days around watching favorite teams live on television. Instead, the flexibility offered by advances in IP delivery and affordable mobile devices means that we can play catch-up: watching sports action anywhere and at any time. In the UK, according to the report, most viewers are watching sports on an average of five devices in the home, six in 10 using smartphones.

Strikingly, however, the UK and the U.S. regularly watch recorded sports content, with tennis a surprise hit.
45% of people in the UK and U.S. watch historical sports action at least once a month, a quarter at least once a week, and some watching considerably more regularly. Notably, in both countries, major sports events were the most watched, followed closely by highlights and victories, showing fans’ clear appetite to keep reliving special sports moments.

In contrast, as you might expect, there are differences in the types of sports UK and U.S. audiences enjoy watching, although, interestingly, in the U.S., soccer (40%) is now watched almost as much as American football (44%). Perhaps surprisingly, after football, tennis is the next most-watched sport in the UK, followed by F1 racing and rugby. Although achieving the smallest viewing audiences, more-niche sports, such as hockey and volleyball, are still watched by 2% of UK households, a rate that is likely to continue to increase as they are more readily available to watch on television.

But, in spite of new cutting-edge technology, demand for access to good-quality footage of recorded and historic sports content is not being met.
Just under half the respondents in the UK and the U.S. said they would be likely to search for historical video clips of sports following the Olympics, showing that its legacy lives on.  Flexibility to catch up on top sports moments on demand is noted as the biggest draw for 30% of the UK population. Tied into this, people are willing to pay to access sports content on an app, with half of 18- to 29-year-olds prepared to spend up to £10 a month for this.

However, there is a huge mismatch: in spite of this demand, a staggering quarter (26%) wouldn’t know where to look to find their favorite historical sports content, and 25% are deterred by poor visual quality of the footage.

Future-proofing sports content is key.
More than three quarters of the UK population (a huge 83%) want sports to be digitized for future generations, with seven in 10 claiming that lessons can be learned from watching past events. These huge numbers show the desire not to lose historic sports moments — big wins, phenomenal comebacks, impossible trick shots, championship successes — with brands allowing safe access to archives a key element of this.

The rise of the e-fan — how a new generation of sports fans is connecting with the latest action and legacy content ebook, video, and infographic with more details on the major research findings can be found at http://imagenevp.com.


Subscribe and Get SVG Newsletters

  • SVG Insider (Tuesday - Friday)
  • SVG Digital Now (Monday)
  • SportSound (Monthly)
  • College (Monthly)
  • Venue Production (Monthly)