THE RETURN OF SPORTS
The role sports play in American culture is undeniable. With major sporting events such as baseball, NBA, March Madness, NHL and the Masters, among many others, being suspended or canceled, many U.S. consumers are desperate for live sports to return to their television screens. This proved to be true when over Memorial Day Weekend, the latest edition of “The Match: Champions for Charity” — a golf tournament featuring four professional athletes that raises money for charity — drew in the largest golf audience ever on cable, with 5.8 million viewers. Clearly, sporting events generate significant engagement and investment where watching or attending is just a small part of a larger relationship.
Credit: Getty Images for The Match
The new media landscape requires companies to adapt to a culture that targets existing consumers who are ready to jump back in. According to Resonate’s proprietary data, nearly 1 in 5 consumers (19%) plan to engage with sports more than previous years once they return and 45% say they will watch regularly (from every few weeks, to weekly, to daily). As seasons potentially resume in a drastically different form, opportunities clearly exist for sports to come back stronger than ever in a new reality.
Resonate is the only company closely tracking real-time data on the current state of U.S. consumer sentiment during this time to deliver intelligence about consumer attitudes towards sports, engagement with live sporting events, sports media consumption and more. We looked closely at an analysis of a group we’ll call Super Fans: consumers who regularly watch either NHL, MLB and NBA games on TV and are fans of their local team.
WHO ARE THEY?
More than ever, it’s critical to have a deep, holistic understanding of who your audience is in order to engage them and connect with them effectively when sports return. Going beyond surface-level demographics and understanding the why behind consumer decisions is key in strengthening relationships, especially with a group that is so passionate about sports and considers sports to be a major part of their lives.
This group is mostly made up of married men ages 25-34 with at least one child and an annual household income of $100 – 150K. They’re also 38% more likely than the average U.S. consumer to have a full-time job. When it comes to their personal values, they put a high emphasis on acquiring wealth and influence, living a life full of excitement and being admired for their abilities. They’re also driven by recognition from their peers and respect from others. Not surprisingly, they’re 179% more likely than the average U.S. consumer to play golf and 153% more likely to play fantasy sports. Participating in athletic activities is also part of their daily routine, they take fitness classes, value their athletic accomplishments and belong to a gym.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND THEM?
It’s important to know what this segment’s media consumption habits are, so you can reach them across all digital touchpoints. Their most-watched TV networks are Fox Sports 1, NBC Sports Network and ESPN. Their top streaming subscriptions are HBO Now, DirecTV Now and Showtime, and their most-used social media channels are Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. They’re 300% more likely to watch their favorite team play on TV using a game console and 270% more likely to watch using a tablet device. In looking at Resonate’s site affinity report, their most-visited websites are nesn.com, which they’re 455% more likely to visit; nba.com, which they’re 232% more likely to visit and nbcsports.com, which they’re 201% more likely to visit.
When it comes to following sports, they’re 289% more likely to read print sports magazines (their favorite is Sports Illustrated) and 182% more likely to track them on their mobile app. Consider revamping your mobile app or add functions to make tracking live sports easier once they come back. Clearly this group appreciates getting updates on the big game at the touch of their finger, so optimizing your mobile app will provide your company with ample opportunities to connect with this group.
SENTIMENT SURROUNDING CORONAVIRUS
With so many changes and new information becoming available every day, consumers’ values, preferences and media habits are rapidly shifting on a regular basis, it’s critical your company understands how they’re feeling in the present moment in order to connect with them effectively. Resonate distilled a massive data set revealing American’s readiness to move forward within the “new normal”. So, how does this segment feel?
Their top concerns surrounding COVID-19 are an elderly family member getting sick and personally contracting the virus. When it comes to lifestyle changes, they’re 28% more likely than the average U.S. consumer to increase their likelihood of doing DIY projects, 23% more likely to drink more alcohol and 21% more likely to stock up on food.
It’s interesting to note that this group is also 19% more likely to be playing more video games during the pandemic. They’re also 19% more likely to listen to the radio and podcasts. Unsurprisingly, they’re 470% more likely to listen to sports podcasts and 327% more likely to listen to sports talk radio – despite the fact that there are no live sports to report on right now! That’s some serious dedication.
ARE YOU READY FOR THE RETURN OF LIVE SPORTS?
It’s crystal clear that this group is more than ready. They’re chomping at the bits to get some good old-fashioned competition back into their lives, so leveraging their excitement will be key in successfully engaging them. Understanding them on a deeper level beyond their love of sports will help your company create sustainable connections with viewers, readers, app users, website visitors, subscribers and more.
Ready to learn more about how consumer sentiment surrounding COVID-19 and the reopening of America? Read our insights-packed, one-of-a-kind report, Reopening America: Up-to-the-Moment U.S. Consumer Sentiment During the Pandemic.