Half Use Connected Devices While Eyeing Sports TV

When it comes to watching sports on TV these days, it’s increasingly a second-screen and social play, according to a recent study from Sporting News Media.

According to the group’s “US: Know the Fan Report 2014,” nearly half of surveyed sports fans maintain that they use Internet-connected devices while watching games and events on television.

Forty-four percent of these second-screeners like to catch up on what’s happening with other games being played via live text commentary and live scores, while 38% access non-sports related content. Another 21% communicate with friends through a second-screen device about the sports event on TV, compared to 20% watching clips and highlights of other games being played and 14% posting comments to social networking platforms about the game/event they’re engaged with it.

According to Sporting News Media’s fourth study of its kind, 2014 has marked a significant increase in the number of fans following sports via social networking platforms as over one-third of respondents said they consume sports on these platforms. Social networking fans are primarily younger fans, with 65% in the 18-to-34 set. Also fans typically use an average of two social networking platforms to follow sports. Although Facebook (70%), YouTube (40%) and Twitter (24%) remain the most popular networks overall for fans to follow sports, fans are using them less as compared to last year to make use of newer social networking platforms such as Google+ (16%), Instagram (10%), Pinterest (8%) and Vine (6%).

While mobile consumption of sports content has doubled to 42% from 21% in 2011, 65% of the surveyed sports fans indicated that they still primarily use a computer/laptop to access online sports content.  Almost two in five (38%) access content on these devices at least once daily, according to the survey. Sporting News Media’s research found that smartphones are more widely used (34%) than tablets (22%) for the second year running, with the former’s usage growing 10 percentage points since 2013, versus a 3-percentage point advance for the latter.

“Our annual Know the Fan report is a valuable tool for understanding market progressions in the sports media landscape. Consumption on mobile devices and social platforms – both new and old – are creating demand for more quality and device agnostic video and editorial content,” said Sporting News Media CEO Juan Delgado. “This type of industry insight will continue to not only shape our business, but the market as a whole, particularly as it relates to helping our partners reach millions of engaged and passionate sports fans in the U.S.” 

Live streaming remains the most popular content accessed online (38%), trailed by videos of game/event highlights (31%) and videos of sports news (27%). More than half of fans that watch videos of game/event highlights online (51%) and videos of player/manager/coach interviews (56%), do so via mobile device.

Among the survey group, sports news continues to be the most popular content read online (57%), followed by statistics and information (49%). This year has seen a greater demand for live text commentary of games (up 10 percentage points to 35%) as more fans are trying to keep up with events in real time.  

The majority of sports fans that read sports news in text format online do so via a computer/laptop computer (82%). However, nearly half of fans that follow sports on mobile devices prefer apps to sites (44%) – and about 1 in 4 use only apps (24%).

Sporting News Media, a PERFORM Group company owns SportingNews.com, the Sporting News ePlayer and the U.S. edition of Goal.com.