Survey Finds Sports Fans Check Online Content Frequently

More than a third of U.S. sports fans use smartphones to tap into sports content and of those fans, 36% view sports content via their mobile device at least once a day, a new survey found.

Some 44% of fans watch sports on high-definition television, reports the study from Sporting News Media in conjunction with Kantar Media and TV Sports Markets.

A survey of more than 1,000 American adults ages 18 and up in February 2013 also found a quarter of U.S. sports fans are now using social networking platforms to follow sports. By platform, the leader for social sports fans was Facebook (77%) followed by YouTube (47%) and Twitter (33%).

Only 7% of fans say they use connected TV to consume sports, but 19% believe connected TVs will have the biggest impact on the way they consume sports in the next two years.

"Despite the hype around second screen viewing, the report found that 4% of fans believe that second screen consumption of sports will have a big impact on the way sports is consumed in the next two years," the survey producers said in a release.

One third of online fans watch highlights via computer and mobile device. "Live streaming and video highlights are the most popular types of content watched online, followed by news and interviews. News is the most sought after written content for fans that access sports content online and 35% of online fans access sports content via newspaper websites or apps."

"In surveying attitudes towards branding around sports, the study found that engaged sports fans are likely to spend more time consuming content across a variety of methods and are therefore more likely to be exposed to brands that sponsor or advertise around sports. 42% will have a positive opinion about brands that sponsor or advertise around sports, leading to more interest, greater trust, and an even higher propensity to purchase than all fans."

In the release, Sporting News Media president Jeff Price said: “In a fragmented media landscape, it’s important for us to understand where and how sports fans are engaging with content. It’s interesting to follow news on the latest gadgets and apps to hit the market for fans, but for business stakeholders like sports publishers, marketers and of course leagues, it’s crucial to find and engage fans at scale. This annual report helps provide a snapshot of the market and focus on what is of most interest to most fans.”