Each year, the number of people consuming sports-related content on their phones grows exponentially, despite most of the population preferring to view sports content on larger screens like TVs. The birth and popularity of over-the-top (OTT) channels, such as streaming services delivering content through the internet instead of traditional broadcast mediums, play a role.
For instance, platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix have largely disrupted movie viewing habits and consumption in recent years, giving long-standing cinema a run for its money and establishing themselves as pioneers of the new age of content consumption.
How Does Sports Fare with Cord Cutting?
Despite the growing audience for mobile-based content, traditional broadcast mediums own the greater majority of sports rights. And since many smartphone users still prefer bigger screens, sports have been one of the many reasons for TV users who’d otherwise have cut the cord.
A survey analyzed that up to 46% of sports fans paid for an OTT service, while 54% kept their cable subscription. However, sports won’t play a stop-gap to cable for long, with viewing habits changing and sports organizations eager to go with the times.
About 53% of sports fans consume sports content on their laptops, while 63% use smartphones. This also accounts for the number that engage with sports through fantasy leagues, fandoms, social media, and online sports betting on Unibet and other bookmarkers.
With sports betting more accessible via smartphones than TV (including smart TVs), it’s no surprise that mobile is the leading source of sports content consumption.
Traditional TV comes in at less than fifty percent (43%), and even that number is 38% made up of streaming services, like Apple TV, Netflix, Amazon and Google Chromecast.
These numbers posit that while sports is still a major player in preventing cord-cutting, it hasn’t stifled the growth of OTT services. If anything, it has contributed immensely to their surpassing traditional TV.
Factors Affecting Sports Consumption via Smartphones
Here are some reasons why smartphones are the de facto choice for consuming sports content:
There is no shortage of “how-to” videos on the internet. But a significant chunk of this content comprises sports videos from established sports personalities and enthusiasts.
Whether it’s how to throw a curveball, dunk from 10 yards, or ice skate, smartphones are handier for learning for most people.
Findings show that sports fans prefer multitasking, and smartphones give them more flexibility. A survey of sports fans revealed that 52.6% use their smartphones to consume digital sports content while viewing sports-related content on TV simultaneously. This number falls to 25.1% for occasional fans.
Another screen allows fans to check personalized sports content, like what their favorite athletes are up to, interviews, biographies, transfer news, etcetera.
Like streaming service users, sports fans also want the option to consume content when and how they like. They want to be able to catch up with a match they missed while on the train to work or listen to interviews and curate their ideas.
And sometimes, getting a personalized experience means using platforms that offer them the most options and flexibility.
With cord-cutting at its peak and sports fans considering the prospect, broadcasters conform to market demands by creating over-the-top service options. Many leagues are experimenting with live-streaming social media, and the National Football League (NFL) has expanded smartphone viewing rights.