Sports Fans View Cross-Platform, TV Still Tops

Nearly 96% of U.S. sports fans use TV to get content -- and just over a third of those pay to watch sports on TV in 2014.

According to the latest “Know the Fan” study from Sporting News Media, Kantar Media Sports and SportsBusiness Group, 34% of fans have paid to watch sports on TV, via a subscription, this year -- about the same level as in 2013. This is slightly up from the 28% number in 2011.

About 3% have use a pay-per-view service -- down from 9% from 2012. Another 3% have paid to watch sports via a subscription to an Internet-connected TV service or set-top-box.

About 70% of the U.S. adult population -- 168 million fans -- follow sports, slightly down from the previous years:  71% (2013); 74% (2012), and 73% (2012). These are people who watch live sports or highlights and/or read about that content frequently and/or talk about it frequently.

U.S. sports fans are 55% male; 45% female -- fairly equally distributed by age: 22% (18-24); 20% (25-34); 19% (35-44); 20% (45-54); and 19% (55 plus).

Football is still the biggest sport in the U.S. -- 49% of sports fans, with baseball at 31% and basketball, 28%. NASCAR and hockey are each around 15%.

Nearly eight hours -- 7.7 hours per week -- are spent by fans consuming sports, which is down from 8.3 hours in 2013 and 8.1 hours in 2014, and up from 6.2 hours in 2011.

For the years 2013 and 2014, the study says results for weekly sports time included time spent placing a bet or playing a fantasy game. Also, for 2014, results include listening radio/online sports program as one category. In the past, it was included as two separate activities.

Some 96% get their sports content from TV -- about the same as in previous years; 68% of fans consume sports content online -- up from 63% a year ago and higher than the 56% number in 2011; 42% who get that content on a mobile device,  up from 35% a year ago and 21% in 2011.

The biggest social-media areas for sports: Facebook, 70%, YouTube 40%, Twitter, 24% and Google+ at 16%. Social media has rapidly risen among sports fans who consume media -- now at 35% versus 25% a year ago and 15% in 2011.

Research came from 1,000 U.S. adults 18 years and older in February 2014.
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