15 stats on the US sports fan

22.06.20

by Marco Lorenzi

Who is the American sports fan today? How do they watch their favorite sports? How much will they pay? Which experiences do they crave? Check out our recap of our report, ‘A new digital decade’

22.06.20

by Marco Lorenzi

Who is the American sports fan today? How do they watch their favorite sports? How much will they pay? Which experiences do they crave? Check out our recap of our report, ‘A new digital decade’

A lot has happened over the past few months and it's easy to forget that we’re still just at the beginning of a new decade.

Here at Deltatre, we wanted to understand how US sports fans will consume content over the next ten years, so we carried out some consumer research at the end of last year and published the results in a white paper titled ‘A new digital decade - the evolution of the US sports fan'.

Now, with live sports starting to return, here’s a recap of the top fifteen stats we discovered along the way.

Sport: an everlasting love

  • Interest for sports in the US has grown in the last few years. When live sports are in play, almost 70% of fans are tuning in to watch more than three hours per week.
  • Basketball, baseball, and football are still the most popular and followed sports in the US. However, two new entrants – soccer and eSports – have seen huge growth in popularity.
  • When asked to rank, in order of preference, the subscription services fans would opt to pay for, the majority of fans indicated live sports would be first choice (38%), followed by entertainment services - like Netflix and Hulu (31%) - and then news services (18%).

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A new digital decade - the evolution of the US sports fan

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The modern fan

  • The modern American sports fan is fluid and connected. The ability to watch content everywhere, at any time, is paramount. As first points of access for news, information, and highlights of sports, consumers indicated broadcasters (40%), sports entities’ owned and operated platforms (28%) and then social media (19%).
  • 64% of consumers claim that it’s easier than ever to watch sports content whenever they want. For this reason, fans today are spoiled for choice: there’s more content than ever before, but less time to consume it.

Platforms of choice and technology

  • Despite a growth in second screening (one in every three consumers use two or more devices simultaneously when watching sports), 70% believe that a big screen is still a ‘must have’ to enjoy live sports.
  • The preferred devices to watch sport are Smart TV (40%), laptop/desktop computer (22%), smartphone (17%) and tablet (4%).
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are listed as the top technologies that will transform the way the world consumes sport.

Spending on sports

  • American fans are prepared to open their wallets to access the right content at the right time. During regular programming, more than 30% spend $24 and above per month on live sports programming on top of existing cable/satellite subscriptions.
  • Over 56% of consumers claim to be signed-up to at least one direct-to-consumer sports streaming services.
  • 61% say they will pay more for behind-the-scenes content as part of a services provided directly by sports federations or leagues.

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A new digital decade - the evolution of the US sports fan

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It’s all about the experience

  • American fans want a rich, interactive experience that is drenched in details and additional content. When asked to rank the top content distributed on a sport TV service, 48% of the surveyed wanted news, 35% real-time data and statistics, and 27% on-demand content.
  • What about younger generations? 24% of the audience – Generation Z – expected unfiltered content that’s powered and generated by athletes and sports personalities themselves.

Getting personal

  • 72% of the consumers think that personalization is very important or important in their overall sports viewing experience.
  • 65% are comfortable with content providers using personal data to create a bespoke experience.

As the United States enters a decade that will revolutionize sports consumption, we focused on the behavioural make-up of the American sports fan and the importance for sports entities to know their customers inside out.

The modern American sports consumer lives in an era of technological advancement and has little in common with their 1994 peers when it comes to consuming content – beyond that they crave a lot of it.

The 90s saw the US hosting world-class events such as the edition of the FIFA World Cup on American soil and, two years later, the Olympics in Atlanta. With the top soccer competition back in 2026 and the Olympic Games in Los Angeles two years later, this will no doubt prove an exciting decade for American sports.

What are your thoughts on the American sports persona in 2020? Join the conversation on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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