Exclusive research from Ampere Analysis reveals who pays to watch sports on TV and what’s important to them. The research identifies a large and affluent group of sports fans who can and do pay a significant premium to watch their favourite teams and competitions.
The sports package consumers have on their TV subscription has the potential to be either a deal maker or a deal breaker. In the UK, just 6% of consumers watched BT Sport channels in the last month compared to 34% of sports fans, strong testament to the appeal of BT’s offering amongst this group. 18% of BT subscribers cited sports as a motivation for choosing the service. While the figures for Sky are less polarised – due to its wider content offering – there is still a marked preference for the channel amongst sports viewers. More than half (58%) of sports fans had watched Sky channels in the last month compared to 34% of other viewers. 14% cite Sky’s sports offer – above all else - as the reason they subscribed to Sky.
Watching sports on TV spans generations. Ampere’s data shows a broad spread of sports fans aged from 18-64 watching sport on TV, with viewers aged 35-54 accounting for almost half of the audience. The majority of sports fans are of working age, and 56% are in full time employment, an attractive audience for advertisers and subscription services alike. Typically, older sports fans are prepared to pay for dominant domestic competitions (such as the NFL or English Premier League), while younger fans are more likely than their older peers to pay for more niche competitions.
Overall, almost two thirds (65%) of sports fans are male, but there is some gender variation between countries. For example, in the US the National Football League (NFL) attracts more female fans than the English Premier League does in the UK.
Sports fans are big TV viewers, typically watching more TV than other consumers. Across all markets, they are significantly more likely to have pay TV and to subscribe to premium channels. In the UK, 74% of sports fans have pay TV compared to 62% of other viewers. In a number of European markets, younger consumers are willing to spend on watching sport. The UK, however, stands out particularly – viewers over the age of 35 are more likely to pay for sports compared to younger fans. 20% of UK viewers aged 35-64 would pay for the English Premier League compared to 14% of viewers aged 28-34.
Ampere’s research analyst, Alexios Dimitropoulos, said: “With sports fans so overwhelmingly eager to pay to access their favourite competitions, there is tremendous scope to further monetise sports on TV. The challenge will be to balance the enthusiasm for niche competitions, particularly evident amongst younger viewers, with the demand for big ticket events such as the Champion’s League. Online services have a chance to maxmise this demand, with an expanded offering of sports events, and that’s why we’re seeing Facebook, Amazon and Twitter, amongst others, make their first forays into this space.”