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From the Super Bowl to the March Madness basketball tournament, mobile has played a big role for sports followers recently. However, when it comes time to keep up with their favorite teams outside of big events, sports fans still flick on the TV for the most part. In a January 2015 study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), 90% of US adult sports fans said they had accessed sports content on a TV in the past year, mostly preferring to watch live.
While a decent 40% of respondents had checked out sports digitally, just 16% had consumed content through a mobile device in the past 12 months. Only 12% streamed video via smartphone, and 9% through a tablet. In comparison, nearly one-fifth had followed stats via a “game tracker” online via a computer, and about the same percentage had streamed video on a laptop. Furthermore, about three in 10 had accessed sports content via traditional AM/FM radio, and a similar percentage had attended in person.
Those who were interested in accessing sports content via mobile were most likely to use their phones to watch short clips as opposed to entire games. Interestingly, downloading a sports-related app to a smartphone or tablet was slightly less popular than watching a game or event via such devices, despite reports of huge leaps in sports app usage last year. And respondents made one thing clear: They didn’t intend to pay to stream mobile video of an event not available on TV—perhaps they’d just turn to those highlights later or head to a friend’s.
eMarketer estimates that this year, 78.6% of US internet users—or 204.2 million people—will be digital video viewers. Meanwhile, 63.3% of tablet users and 55.5% of smartphone users will watch streaming or downloaded video content via such devices (browser or app) at least monthly. While the trend may be slower to catch on among sports fans, there’s no denying that digital video consumption, via any device, is the norm.
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