Gone are the days when sports fans were limited to engaging with their favorite sports teams or athletes by watching a live game or collecting trading cards. Social media has made it possible for sports fans to not only follow their favorite teams but also engage with players, coaches and sports experts. Here’s what a report [download page] from GWI reveals about social media engagement among sports fans.
Looking at the social media behaviors of internet-using sports fans (ages 16-64) across 15 global markets, fans of every age are following sports figures and teams to some extent, though younger fans are more likely to do so. This aligns with other data that shows that younger people are more apt to use social media as well as follow influencers or brands on social media.
These younger fans are also most likely to follow athletes. Among the internet users surveyed, some 58% of 16-24-year-olds and 49% of 25-34-year-olds say they follow athletes. This is compared to the percentages that follow leagues (43% each), sports experts (26% and 29%, respectively) and coaches (19% and 20%, respectively).
YouTube is the platform used by the most (52%) sports fans surveyed, with Facebook (47%) and Instagram (43%) also being popular platforms to follow sports. And, although the largest portion of fans of all ages say they watch sporting events on TV, younger fans are more likely than older ones to watch sports events online. For example, about three-quarters (74%) of Millennials say they watch sports online, while fewer than half (46%) of Baby Boomers do so.
Beyond social media, sports fans also enjoy engaging in fantasy leagues. Participation is most popular among cricket fans (35%), American football fans (22%) and soccer fans (21%).
And, when it comes to sponsorship, fans across American football, motorsports, soccer and tennis say they noticed sponsorship most on shirts, followed by LED boards around the pitch or stadium.
To read more, the full report can be found here.
About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 23,073 internet users ages 16-64 across 15 markets who are interested in sports or state they watch, attend or participate in sports.