The annual fall collegiate sports season kicks off as students return to campuses across the country and the buzz extends well beyond the stadiums and dorms. According to Learfield, college sports have the biggest fan base.
The study from the marketing and media rights firm reveals that there are more college sports fans across the country than there are for professional teams or leagues. In 2021, there were more than 182 million people who had a favorite college team, and 66% of people 12 or older considered themselves college sports fans.
Citing MRI-Simmons Spring data, the RAB says that adults that listened to any college baseball, basketball, or football game on the radio in the past year are 218% more likely to consider themselves super sports fans.
These college sports fans and radio listeners cover all demos. Ten percent of this group fall within 18-24 years of age, 15% are 25-34 or 35-44 and 17% are 45-54. It is those adults who are 55+ that make up the largest group of college sports fans at 43%, the RAB reports in a blog post.
The college sports radio listener is 31% more likely to be in a management, business, or a financial position and 28% more likely to be employed within the natural resources, construction, or maintenance industries. They are also 26% more likely than the overall U.S. population to have a household income of $125,000 or greater.
And with the majority of college sports radio listeners middle-aged or older, there are many opportunities for radio advertisers to reach this audience that may have some important life planning events happening.
Within the next year, 42% of college sports radio listeners are likely to have a child that gets married; 31% are more likely to retire from full-time work; 28% are more likely to do an exterior addition to their home; 17% are more likely to take out a second mortgage or equity loan; 17% are more likely to lease a vehicle; 12% are more likely to get life insurance.
And they’re not just listening to their alma mater’s games on the radio. The study found that 60% said that radio keeps them informed or up to date, while 58% say radio relaxes them, and 57% say radio puts them in a good move.