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Sports Fans Are A Loyal Crowd, And That Follows Through To Their Podcast Listening Habit.

Through good seasons and bad, sports fans usually stick with their team. So it’s no surprise that loyalty is a thread that Edison Research picks up in the recently released Sports Audio Report. In a newly released data point, Edison says three-quarters (76%) of sports podcast listeners continue to follow athletes if they are traded to a new team. That compares to half (51%) of sports fans who don’t listen to sports podcasts.

This loyalty ties back to the fact that U.S. podcast consumers are more likely to be Gen-Z and Millennials, which correlates with younger sports fans being more interested in following athletes’ lives beyond the field compared to older sports fans,” Edison theorizes in a blog post. It says 52% of Gen Z sports fans closely follow the personal lives of athletes they like, beyond the athletes’ sports careers, compared to 26% of Boomers who do the same. “Sports podcasts provide fans with another way to connect with specific athletes and stay up-to-date on their favorite teams,” Edison says.

The Sports Audio Report is based on 3,534 online interviews with Americans aged 13 and older. It was conducted by Edison, with the backing of SiriusXM Media and GroupM. The data shows two-thirds considers themselves sports fans, and 64% have consumed sports audio content in the past year. That includes 36% that have listened to sports podcasts. The data shows among sports podcast listeners, a third are “die hard” sports fans, 35% are “enthusiastic” fans, while 37% consider themselves “casual” fans. 

“There's loads of evidence that audio plays an integral role in sports fandom – 64% of sports fans frequently or occasionally listened to sports contact throughout the last year via audio,” said Edison Director of Research Gabriel Soto. “Sports audio listeners are different types of beasts. Our research confirms what many of us have been thinking for years – sports audio listeners are more likely to be diehard fans,” he said on a recent webinar detailing the findings.

A big reason sports fans listen to podcasts is to seek out new perspectives. Edison says three in four sports podcast listeners say they want to hear unique perspectives on sports topics that are not covered elsewhere, compared to two in four sports audio listeners overall. 

The report also finds that unlike many other podcast genres, sports podcasts have more co-listening. Edison says just 15% of sports podcast listeners say they always consume an episode on their own. That is less than the 16% who say they always listen with others. The remainder either listen most of the time (32%) or some of the time (37%).

What remains the same is the effectiveness of audio to motivate consumers. Edison says 78% of the people it surveyed said they took action after hearing an ad on a podcast or radio show, including 63% that gathered more information about a product, 55% that bought something, and 50% that used a promo code they heard mentioned.

Listeners also have strong feelings about ad creative, with 81% saying they would like to hear their favorite athlete in a podcast commercial. If the brand did, 68% of podcast listeners say they would be more likely to buy the product or service advertised. A big reason is two-thirds said they would have more trust in what’s being sold if it came with the athlete’s endorsement.

“Podcasting is the MVP when it comes to purchase intent of app the advertised products,” Soto said. “This shows the power of advertising and sports audio content in general, whether that content is hosted by an athlete themselves, or by another trusted sports audio expert.”

Edison plans to release a companion report on female sports fans on July 16.

Download a copy of the Sports Audio Report HERE.

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