As any team fan knows, half the enjoyment of sports is talking about the game and engaging with like-minded fans. It is little wonder then that a new study finds that nearly two-thirds of sports fans engage with two forms of audio that build community and score high on the media scale for engagement. Crowd React Media says 63% of the sports audience engages with radio and/or podcasts.
A closer examination of the numbers in The State of Sports Media study shows just how big a role broadcast radio plays in the consumption of sports programming. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of fans overall say they turn to AM/FM radio for sports content. That number is even bigger among those 60 and older where 73% turn to radio. Yet the level of radio usage is not far behind for the 40 to 59 age group where 70% report using radio. And among the youngest demographic looked at, radio still has a sizable audience among 18- to 39-year-olds. The survey finds among that age group, a majority (57%) is engaging with AM/FM radio.
Broadcast radio may be holding strong across all age groups, but Crowd Reach Media’s data shows podcasts are also appealing to a growing number of fans – especially younger audiences. The study finds that four in ten sports fans between the ages of 18 and 39 listen to sports podcasts. That is more than double the 17% rate for fans aged 60 and older. And among those aged 40 to 59, the survey finds more than a third (35%) say they listen to sports podcasts.
By way of comparison, that means that more sports fans under the age of 60 now listen to sports programming on podcasts than listen to sports on SiriusXM, even though the satellite radio service has a wide variety of play-by-play and league-specific channels.
The study also points to growing listening of streaming content on mobile devices as well as desktop computers, which the study’s authors conclude reflects a digital shift among younger demographics. To that point, the data shows two-thirds of 18- to 39-year-olds say they listen to sports content on their mobile devices, and nearly half listen on a desktop computer or laptop.
Crowd React Media’s survey points to what it says is a “clear preference” for live sports content over sports analysis among most people it talked to. Four in ten said they prefer play-by-play, with younger sports fans most open to sports chat.
“By striking this balance, sports media outlets can effectively cater to a diverse audience, providing them with the best of both worlds — the thrill of live action and the depth of analysis and commentary,” the report says. “Sports media outlets should prioritize live sports broadcasts while integrating thoughtful analysis to accommodate the varying preferences of their audience, ensuring a comprehensive and engaging sports viewing experience.”
The data shows that 57% of sports fans surveyed say they have engaged in sports betting, including two-thirds of those aged 18 to 39. The study also says that more than a third (36%) of respondents listen to radio programs or podcasts specifically focused on sports betting and odds, which the study’s authors say showcases a “substantial appetite for specialized content in this domain.”
Football Wins, Hands Down
The data sheds light on more than just trends in sports media consumption. It shows eight in ten (82%) of those surveyed say they pay attention to their favorite sport or team throughout the season. That said, half (52%) said they pay even closer attention toward the end of the season and during the playoffs.
Beyond media habits, the report offers several other insights into sports. It shows that football, both NFL and college varieties, remains the dominant favorite among all age groups. The survey finds 84% of those surveyed like football. Basketball edges out baseball as the second favorite, although baseball won out among those aged 60 and older. Hockey was next, followed by soccer, motor racing, golf, and tennis.
Crowd React Media’s The State of Sports Media study is based on a survey of more than 900 sports enthusiasts, with results collected in the spring and summer. The sample consisted of two-thirds men.
Download "The State of Sports Media” study HERE.