While Facebook remains the most widely used channel, fans are increasingly using Google+ and YouTube to disseminate and acquire sports information, and game day social network interaction is on the rise, says Catalyst.
The yearly survey-based study, run this August handled by Repucom involved a survey of 2,100 sports fans — including those from Brazil and the United Kingdom — aged 16 - 64. The study measures the digital media attitudes and usage habits of NFL, NBA, MLB, college football and basketball, and for the first time, soccer fans.
The social channels that garnered the biggest year-over-year growth were Google+ (+94%) and YouTube (+35%) per Catalyst, which found that story lines or points of view were the strongest draws. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they responded to pre-game excitement; historic video was favored by 68% of those polled; bloopers by 66%; Q&A with coaches and players were chosen as the favorite content by 66% of respondents; and 63% said game debate/banter.
“Content strategy is a major component for any brand, and this study reinforces that sports fans frequently consume and engage with social content that takes them well beyond the box score,“ said Bret Werner, SVP, managing director of Catalyst. “Avid sports fans are more likely to interact and identify with brands that act like fans.”
The firm also said fans engage on social channels before, during and after sporting events at a higher rate than they used to, with engagement more than 30% higher than compared to 2012.
Werner tells Marketing Daily that fans definitely don't want brands interacting with them during the game. The exception is the Super Bowl, of course, which is as much about the ads and half time show as the actual game. "It's a big cultural event."
He says that sport soccer fans are the most digitally engaged and brands have an opportunity to fill in an information gap for fans of the sport. "It's a true global sport and editorial coverage in the states isn't as prevalent as in other sports." He adds that college basketball fans are especially strong in social media.