Sports On Mobile: Bring It On!

I never thought of it before but sports TV kind of invented the idea of highlights--a just-the-facts approach to data that emphasizes speed, action, and results.  

Quick is the only speed most sports travel and quick is the cousin of brief, and both of them live comfortably on apps.

But once you’ve got a crowd in the tent, apps are also turning out to be ways to increase the time people spend with sports.  

A new report from 7Park Data using its App Intelligence tool shows sports is very much at home on mobile devices, and watching leads to . . . watching more sports.

“Viewers have been watching sports in short bursts for years, and these bursts have morphed into longer engagements,” says a new blog post from 7Park’s Christopher Coby.  

“We see a reflection of this dynamic in sports app growth. According to 7Park Data’s App Intelligence, over the past two years, NFL Mobile and At Bat [apps] grew double digits globally -- 32% and 28%, respectively.”



In fact, new research from 7Park notes that on YouTube, sports videos have some real clout. The study, using YouTube’s own data, shows that  “more viewers subscribe to YouTube’s sports channels than to its movie and TV channels combined.”  

What’s more things like Verizon’s mobile first content service Go90 has seen “robust adoption” in the last six months--up 176%--which it implies is in part from its sports-heavy menu that includes soccer and the Cadillac of short mobile-prepped sports content that is represented by Whistle Sports.

(Even so, maybe that fat  176% increase is due to the fact that Go90 apparently has not taken off as envisioned, so any increase looks big.)

Also, 7Park says that globally, 86% of smartphone users retained their ESPN app between September-November, but only 80% of Twitter users did. (That seems to me to be a kind of Football vs.Trump stat.)

The 7Park report makes an interesting observation: While sports is obviously a potent force on mobile and beyond, two of the biggest gorillas in the business don’t appear to be too interested.

“As viewership evolves, services like Hulu and Netflix are now the first choice for many viewers,” the blog says “Surprisingly, sports-themed TV programming accounted for less than 1% of US streams on both Hulu and Netflix during August-October. . .

"On both Netflix and Hulu there is a scarcity of available sports TV titles (at times fewer than 50 on each service). Despite limited options, the demand for streamed sports is evident.”

A neat follow the bouncing ball piece of information indicates, however, that even sports-related programming like comedies and dramas (and WWE) on Hulu indexed up 37% in the the August-October time span it checked.

“Despite limited options,” 7Park concludes, “the demand for streamed sports is evident.”

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