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Sports Fans Continue the Conversation Online

Nearly two-thirds of the US population considers themselves a sports fan

July 5, 2012 | Advertising & Marketing

According to a new report from eMarketer, much of the sports fan’s lifestyle has gone digital—getting scores via smartphone, following a player’s Twitter feed, or reading and commenting on sports-related blog posts. In the digital age, there’s a wide world of sports opportunity available to marketers, and it’s not confined to television on Sunday afternoons.

A new report from eMarketer, “Sports Fans Online: Examining the Digital Element of the Total Fan Experience,” analyzes findings from dozens of third-party research providers and interviews with television and advertising executives, brands, and professional sports teams, exploring the digital opportunities for brands looking to connect with fans online, including:

  • How big is the sports fan population in the US, and which sports get the most attention?
  • What role does digital play in an environment that seems dominated by TV, and what openings does this create for marketers?
  • What are the social media and mobile aspects of sports fans’ digital behavior?

“About six in 10 adults call themselves sports fans, according to a 2011 Marist poll, and they have made digital usage an important aspect of fan life,” says eMarketer. “For marketers, the growing array of sports-related activity creates multiple opportunities to reach fans. Digital marketers have a chance to piggyback on the active interest sports inspire in people, well beyond the games themselves.”

Demographic Profile of US Sports Fans, Nov 2011 (% of respondents in each group)

Key Takeaways from “Sports Fans Online: Examining the Digital Element of the Total Fan Experience”:

  • Despite the proliferation of mobile devices, TV is still the screen that matters most to fans.
  • The real action is during the game, but social media is giving fans a platform to stay engaged before, during and after, and smartphones make it easy to do so at any time of day.
  • Digital media surrounding sporting events is augmenting the social element of being a sports fan by connecting fans around the world.
  • The sheer number of fans combined with the myriad ways they supplement their fan experience online gives marketers ample leeway to align themselves with sports.

Brands’ digital activity may not get the media attention lavished on Super Bowl TV spots, but it offers an invaluable year-round opportunity to connect with fans.

About eMarketer
eMarketer publishes data, analysis and insights on digital marketing, media and commerce. We do this by gathering information from many sources, filtering it, and putting it into perspective. For more than a decade, leading companies have trusted this approach, and have relied on eMarketer to help them make better business decisions.


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