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Sports fans in Canada are connected to their mobile devices before, during and after the game—there’s a lot there to keep them engaged. Highlights are easily consumable in bite-sized clips on smartphones, sports apps make checking scores while on the go easy, and sports chatter—both cheering and jeering—takes place in real time via mobile social channels. As the fan experience gets more mobile-centric, brands in Canada are looking to get in on the action, according to a new eMarketer report, “Canada Sports on Mobile: Fueling New Fan Experiences.”
Mobile apps have been designed by publishers, leagues, stadiums and teams to enhance the fan experience. New features make them more social, media-rich and engaging. Consequently, uptake of sports apps has been strong in Canada. In March 2015, mobile sports app usage was up 88% over the previous year for apps plugged into Flurry’s platform, recording one of the highest jumps among app categories studied.
Many sports apps are centered on content, from highlight clips to player interviews to statistical deep dives. The richness of this content is having an impact: 41% of digital time spent with sports content in Canada was on mobile at the end of 2014, according to comScore. Video is especially suited to mobile apps, and viewership data in Canada reflects that: At least 80% of sports network video content viewed during the study period was on mobile vs. desktop.
Checking sports scores via mobile apps is also common: 34% of smartphone owners surveyed in Canada by Catalyst Canada and GroupM Next in November 2014 said they checked scores via such devices.
To take one example, Toronto-based sports publisher theScore had more than 10 million users by early 2015, with user numbers split more or less equally between app and mobile web, according to a January 2015 press release. Users tend to visit often: App users access it up to 70 times monthly, according to the company. “Users are very deeply engaged,” said Benjamin Levy, theScore’s president and COO. “If you’d asked me about a year ago, it probably would’ve been about 30 to 35 times a month.”
This increased usage is related to enhanced features—video highlights, stats visualization, social-sharing capabilities and personalization, according to Levy. But it’s the app’s personalization features—selecting preferences around sports, teams and players—that are the key to greater engagement. More than half of theScore’s app users personalize.
eMarketer corporate subscription clients can view the full report here.
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