Fragmented media landscape not making life easy for sports fans

Tuesday, October 31st, 2023 
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Altman Solon Survey: Global Sports Fans Want More Sports Video Content but 60% Can’t Find or Afford Content

  • New survey polls 2,500 global sports fans and 150 top sports executives to paint picture of fragmented sports media landscape

Global sports fans crave more sports video content but have trouble accessing it due to the fragmented nature of the sports video market, according to Altman Solon’s 2023 Global Sports Media Survey. The survey of more than 2,500 sports fans from eight major global markets reveals that 59% say they currently have trouble finding or affording sports content they want to watch while 56% would watch more sports video content if it were available.

Once the province of TV networks and Pay TV providers, streaming services have become big sports players, including through big broadcasting rights deals like Amazon’s with the NFL and Apple TV+’s with Major League Baseball. U.S. fans also have more options to watch international sports leagues like the English Premier League and domestic women’s leagues like the WNBA through cable channels and streaming services.

The current industry structure in media distribution is not making life easier for fans wanting to discover and access the content they are passionate about. Of the sports fans who say they have trouble accessing live sports content, 35% say it’s too expensive to access all the content they want, 30% don’t know which channels to watch, and 28% don’t know which platforms to watch.

“It seems counterintuitive that the answer to the glut of sports content is more sports content, but sports fans are hungry for more,” said Altman Solon Director David Dellea. “It turns out fans actually want more content, but often can’t afford the costs of additional subscriptions or get lost in the web of channels and streaming platforms providing content. Some form of industry consolidation seems likely, either through audience aggregation or content democratization, which should be beneficial for both the industry and sports fans.”

This year’s survey for the first time included a poll of more than 150 global sports media executives to understand the priorities and solutions for a changing industry. The executives identify facilitating content aggregation (65%), improving content promotion (64%), and fostering flexible pricing (58%) as the top ways to make content more globally accessible.

The executives also pointed to a transformation in the way consumers view fandom, with more than half (56%) expecting a continued transition towards a more fluid and athlete-driven fandom, as opposed to loyally following the same teams.

“It is important to recognize that the way fans consume sports is much different from a generation ago or even at the end of the past decade,” said Altman Solon Director Matt Del Percio. “While historically fandom was defined by the local team(s) you follow – and often the team your parents followed – modern sports fans are now more making decisions based on athletes’ on-field performance and off-the-field personalities or social media presence.”

Other key findings of the consumer portion of the survey include:

  • Global fans of all ages are multitasking on other digital media while watching sports: 57% browse the internet, 50% use social media, 43% use messaging
  • Younger fans average 1.5x more hours online compared to older fans, underscoring the need for sports media to provide multi-platform content experiences
  • Average TV hours watched per week is expected to drop 16% by 2040

In developing this report, Altman Solon surveyed 2,500 adults across eight countries, including the U.S. the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, China, between July-August this year. Respondents represent the country’s population, weighted by age, gender, and income. Altman Solon will release more results from the survey in the coming months.

Links: Altman Solon