Study: Sports Media Usage Patterns Changing, Almost As Many Follow Olympics Online As In Print
From the Super Bowl to the NBA All-Star game and the Winter Olympics, watching sports online has become a key component of fans' viewing experiences, according to a new sports and technology study from the Consumer Electronics Association.
This year, nearly one in five -- 18% -- of consumers planning to follow live events at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver plan to do so online. Meanwhile, 25% are planning to watch clips or highlights online. To put that percentage into perspective, 30% of consumers plan to follow the Games in a printed source such as a newspaper or magazine. As a direct result, major Olympics sponsors are investing in online advertising like never before. Visa, for one, put 40% of its Olympic marketing budget into digital -- as did Coke, which made sure every related initiative had both a social and mobile component.
Overall, sports fans aren't restricting themselves to a single screen, digital channel, or even sporting event, according to CEA's study. On the contrary, they're increasingly following multiple events at once, while customizing their viewing experiences using various technologies and gadgets. Indeed, nearly 1 in 4 fans now follow statistics from other live games while watching a game, match, or race. What's more, 16% watch games on multiple sets in the same room, while 14% have used split screens, picture in picture, or screen "quadrants" to watch multiple games on one screen.
Sports organizations and publishers are responding to consumers' increased demand for cross-media experiences. The National Basketball Association, for example, is promoting several new initiatives this year, including its NBA TV online companion, the NBA League Pass Broadband, and NBA League Pass mobile, which provides access to 40 live games.
Separately, CEA's study found that consumers are partial to high-definition viewing, as 83% of sports viewers who have watched sports in HD in the past year say they most prefer to watch sports on television in HD.
Meanwhile, for those surveyed who have attended a game in the past year, 42% say watching in high definition is the way they most prefer to watch sports.
With regard to the Winter Olympics, 12% of HDTV owners purchased their set with the specific purpose of watching the Winter Olympics.