Sports Fan Behavior Impacts Media, Advertising And Spending

According to findings from The Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg and ThePostGame behavioral study of American sports fans, 86% of Americans consider themselves sports fans (92% of men and 80% of women,) and 24% say they are “intense” sports fans.

 Presented at the 4As Transformation advertising conference, the annual study includes the impact of the post-Millennial Generation Z.. Jeffrey I. Cole, PhD, Founder and Director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg, says that “… sports… in some cases is the only must-see live content left… tracking all aspects of sports fan sentiment and behavior… provides unprecedented insights into where fans are today, where they are going, and why that changes everything…”

 Looking at the fans, the report shows that:

  • 88% of sports fans follow more than one sport, and 89% follow more than one team
  • Even among those who are not sports fans, one-third say they follow more than one team
  • The demographic profile of the most intense sports fans: Male, African-American, 35-54, married, making $75-100,000 per year, and having a college degree



 David Katz, Founder and CEO of ThePostGame, says “… the goal of the #SCORE research… help all aspects of the sports industry… address transformative effects…brought by technological change… the study’s unique data will help leagues, teams, networks, tech companies, advertisers and fans navigate this rapidly evolving landscape…”

 Looking at media consumption, very few people feel they can get all the sports content they want from free sources. More than 90% of sports fans would be willing to pay something for sports programming.

  • 59% of sports fans want sports as part of their basic pay-TV package or bundle. Another 28% want it as an option
  • Sports fans say they will pay more for streaming than for similar channels via cable or satellite television
  • Those age 25-34 say they will pay the most for sports programming
  • In one of the more surprising findings, women are more willing to pay for sports programming than men. In all cases except baseball, women say they will pay up to 50% more
  • 29% of 25-34 year olds said they would watch a sporting event streamed live from someone’s mobile phone

% Of Women Willing To Spend More Per Month Than Men

% Who Would Spend More Than Men For

% of Women

Cable/Satellite Channels


Streaming Channels


Comprehensive supplemental programming


Over-the-Top Channels


Source: Center for Digital Future/The Post Game, April 2016

 And, considering advertising, the study found that:

  • 64% say television commercials aired during commercial breaks are the best way for brands to advertise in and around sports content, more than in-game graphics (20%) or on-air mentions (14%)
  • More than any other age group, under 18 year olds are the most likely to find that television advertising enhances the sports viewing experience (21%). Although larger percentages across all ages believe that advertising around sports programming detracts

American Interest In Sports

Sports Fan Intensity

% of Respondents







Friend/companion of sports fan


Not a fan


Source: Center for Digital Future/The Post Game, April 2016

 The preliminary release notes that, including mobile device use, behavioral differences by Millennial/GenZ demographics, willingness to pay for specific content and distribution options, leagues/sports interests by age, and sentiment about high-profile issues and trends in sports, will be released over the next several weeks .

With TPG Studios, ThePostGame's sports lifestyle and culture content reaches more than 40 million people each month across, YouTube, email subscribers, social media fans and followers, and content-distribution partners.



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