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Marketing to Sports Fans - US - July 2014

“Watching sports on TV is not going to be enough for today’s young adult and teen fans. To keep them involved with sports, leagues will have to operate across all media channels, including those yet to be developed. This will likely require the cultivation of diverse revenue streams to reduce leagues’ reliance on income from television rights.”
- Fiona O’Donnell, Category Manager – Multicultural, Lifestyles, Travel and Leisure

This report answers the following questions:

  • How will changes to the traditional TV advertising model impact marketing to sports fans?
  • How will changing demographics of sports fans impact sports marketing?
  • Can leagues adapt to the fragmentation of the sports audience and a generational shift in how fans engage with sports?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Abbreviations and terms
              • Abbreviations
                • Terms
                • Executive Summary

                    • Snapshot of sports fans
                      • Issues in the market
                        • Led by Millennials, fans are moving to new platforms to follow sports
                          • Sports participation rates down; gaming and fantasy league involvement up
                            • New trends in sports marketing: Social apps, gamification, and micro-locations
                              • The sports fan
                                • NFL dominates, but NBA, NASCAR, and MLS enjoy younger fan bases
                                    • Figure 1: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                  • Male fans show greater engagement with sports
                                      • Figure 2: Sports fans level of engagement, April 2014
                                    • Team- branded apparel nearly as popular as game tickets
                                      • Figure 3: Sports related purchases in the past 12 months, April 2014
                                    • Male fans see their team(s) as part of their identity
                                      • Figure 4: Reasons for following sports leagues, April 2014
                                    • No surprise: Star power sells
                                      • Figure 5: Favorite sports-related advertising themes, April 2014
                                    • Female and young-adult fans value social aspects of sports
                                      • Figure 6: Attitudes about the social aspects of sports team loyalty, April 2014
                                    • One in five fans prefer to engage virtually
                                      • Figure 7: Attitudes about virtual interactions with professional sports, April 2014
                                    • Followers of smaller sports more likely to be super fans
                                      • What we think
                                      • Issues and Insights

                                          • How will changes to the traditional TV advertising model impact marketing to sports fans?
                                            • The issues:
                                              • The implications:
                                                • How will changing demographics of sports fans impact sports marketing?
                                                  • The issues:
                                                    • The implications:
                                                      • Can leagues adapt to the fragmentation of the sports audience and a generational shift in how fans engage with sports?
                                                        • The issues:
                                                          • The implications:
                                                          • Trend Application

                                                              • Trend: Immaterial World
                                                                • Trend: Locavore
                                                                  • Trend: Mood to Order
                                                                  • Factors Impacting the Sport Fans Market

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • TV less of a draw for 18-34s
                                                                        • Figure 8: Home entertainment spending in the US, first half of 2012 versus first half of 2013
                                                                        • Figure 9: Reasons for not subscribing to pay TV service, by age, August 2013
                                                                      • Shift to mobile devices changing expectations for entertainment
                                                                        • Figure 10: Tablet unit sales, 2010-13
                                                                      • Access to mobile devices more widespread than ever
                                                                        • Figure 11: Access to connected devices, February 2014
                                                                      • Smaller screens increasingly acceptable for video
                                                                        • Figure 12: Use of secondary screens for streaming video, by age, November 2012-June 2013
                                                                      • Second screening brings interactivity to TV broadcasts
                                                                        • Figure 13: Second screen usage while watching TV, by age, February 2014
                                                                        • Figure 14: Second screen activities while watching TV, by age, February 2014
                                                                      • Declines in youth participation may mean fewer fans
                                                                      • Sports Fans by the Numbers

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Nearly 120 million adults watch sports on TV
                                                                            • Figure 15: Total US population and population that watches sports on TV, by age, 2014
                                                                            • Figure 16: Total US population and population that watches sports on TV, by age, 2014
                                                                        • Who are Sports Fans?

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Typical fan is male and 45 or older
                                                                              • Figure 17: Gender, age, and gender by age of consumers who have followed a sport in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                          • Competitive Context

                                                                            • Pro sports compete successfully with other entertainment options
                                                                              • Figure 18: Entertainment and leisure options, 2013
                                                                            • Sports video games provide an alternative way to engage with leagues
                                                                              • Figure 19: Frequency of gaming activity, by platform, September 2013
                                                                            • Fantasy sports drive increased interest in real sports
                                                                            • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                              • Sports apps get social
                                                                                • OverDog invites fans to play with the pros
                                                                                  • Sports-only social networks get serious
                                                                                    • Micro-location-based mobile marketing comes to baseball
                                                                                      • Sports fan rewards programs gamify team loyalty
                                                                                      • Social Media

                                                                                          • Key findings
                                                                                            • Market overview
                                                                                              • Key social media metrics
                                                                                                • Figure 20: Key social media metrics, by sports leagues, June 2014
                                                                                              • Brand usage and awareness
                                                                                                • Figure 21: Brand usage and awareness for selected sports leagues, April 2014
                                                                                              • Interactions with sports leagues
                                                                                                • Figure 22: Interactions with selected sports leagues, April 2014
                                                                                              • Leading online campaigns
                                                                                                • Fan engagement
                                                                                                  • Player involvement
                                                                                                    • Apps
                                                                                                      • What we think
                                                                                                        • Online conversations
                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Online conversations for selected major league sports organizations, by week, June 30, 2013-June 29, 2014
                                                                                                        • Where are people talking about sports leagues?
                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Online conversations for selected major league sports organizations, by page type, June 30, 2013-June 29, 2014
                                                                                                        • What are people talking about?
                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Topics of online conversations for selected major league sports organizations, June 30, 2013-June 29, 2014
                                                                                                      • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                        • Overview
                                                                                                          • Sports leagues are reaching out to younger fans and their parents
                                                                                                            • NFL Rush Zone and Play 60
                                                                                                              • Figure 26: NFL, Play 60 television ad, 2014
                                                                                                            • Nike Basketball salutes LeBron and young athletes
                                                                                                              • Figure 27: Nike, Training Day television ad, 2013
                                                                                                            • FIFA and McDonald’s want kids to love soccer
                                                                                                              • Figure 28: McDonald’s, Gol! television ad, 2013
                                                                                                            • World Cup ads feature international celebrities
                                                                                                              • Nike fields soccer dream team
                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Nike, Risk Everything television ad, 2014
                                                                                                              • Soccer’s not world peace (it’s more important)
                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Visa FIFA World Cup, United in Rivalry television ad, 2014
                                                                                                            • Sports Followed

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Majority of US adults follow professional sports
                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                • Young fan base bodes well for NBA, NASCAR, and MLS
                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by gender and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                • Dads are key demographic for every sport
                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by gender and parents with children in household, April 2014
                                                                                                                • Offline consumers watch more football but less sports overall
                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Sports watched on TV occasionally or frequently, by gender, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                • Hanging onto teen fans key for smaller leagues
                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Sports teens watched on TV occasionally or frequently, by gender and age, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                              • Sports Fans’ Level of Engagement

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Going to games a rare treat for most fans
                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Sports fans level of engagement, April 2014
                                                                                                                  • Social activities and social media attract female fans
                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Sports fans level of engagement, by gender, April 2014
                                                                                                                  • Parents drive both virtual and social engagement with sports
                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Sports fans level of engagement, by gender and parents with children in household, April 2014
                                                                                                                  • Gender gap in teens’ interest smallest for MLS
                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Sports teens are very/somewhat interested in, by gender and age, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                • Sports-related Purchases

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Sports-related purchases
                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Sports related purchases in the past 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                    • Young female fans lead in ticket and apparel purchases
                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: Sports related purchases in the past 12 months, by gender and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                    • Licensed apparel popular with both men and women
                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Sports league clothing purchased in the last 12 months, by gender, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Types of sports league clothing purchased in the last 12 months, by gender, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                    • Boys 9-11 report highest rates of team-branded apparel purchases
                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Teens’ purchase of sports league clothing in the last 12 months, by gender and age, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Kids’ purchase of any licensed college/professional sports clothing in the last 12 months, by gender and age, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                    • NFL leads in marketing apparel to teen girls
                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Teens’ purchase of sports league clothing in the last 12 months, by gender and age, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Kids’ purchase of sports league clothing in the last 12 months, by gender and age, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                  • Reasons to Follow Sports

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Team and tradition drive most sports fans
                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Reasons for following sports leagues, April 2014
                                                                                                                      • Majority of male fans see teams as part of their identity
                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Reasons for following sports leagues, by gender and parents with children in household, April 2014
                                                                                                                      • Favorite Sports-related Advertising Themes

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Ads featuring popular athletes have widest appeal
                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Favorite sports-related advertising themes, April 2014
                                                                                                                          • Young adults most receptive to common sports advertising themes
                                                                                                                            • Figure 51: Favorite sports-related advertising themes, by age, April 2014
                                                                                                                          • Inspirational and emotional ads appeal to parents
                                                                                                                            • Figure 52: Favorite sports-related advertising themes, by gender and parents with children in household, April 2014
                                                                                                                        • Attitudes Toward Sports Team Loyalty/Team Spirit

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Majority of fans love to hate (their team’s rivals)
                                                                                                                              • Figure 53: Attitudes about sports team loyalty and identity, April 2014
                                                                                                                            • Cheering more fun in groups, even if not everyone is on the same side
                                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Attitudes about the social aspects of sports team loyalty, April 2014
                                                                                                                            • One in five fans prefer to engage virtually
                                                                                                                              • Figure 55: Attitudes about virtual interactions with professional sports, April 2014
                                                                                                                            • Millennials favor social and virtual engagement with sports
                                                                                                                              • Figure 56: Agreement with attitudes about sports team loyalty/team spirit, by gender and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                          • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • NFL has diverse appeal
                                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                              • Hispanics more likely to engage with sports socially and virtually
                                                                                                                                • Figure 58: Sports fans level of engagement, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                              • Whites spend on game tickets; Hispanics on social events
                                                                                                                                • Figure 59: Sports related purchases in the past 12 months, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                              • Star power rules with Blacks
                                                                                                                                • Figure 60: Reasons for following sports leagues, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                              • Sports-related ads featuring family themes do well with Hispanics
                                                                                                                                • Figure 61: Favorite sports-related advertising themes, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                              • Hispanics view team loyalty through a social lens
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Agreement with attitudes about sports team loyalty/team spirit, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2014
                                                                                                                              • Custom Consumer Groups – Sports Fans

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • MLS and NHL fans also support other pro sports
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by sports followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Followers of smaller sports more engaged
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Sports fans level of engagement, by sports followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                                    • MLS, NASCAR, and NHL fans more likely to spend on sports
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Sports related purchases in the past 12 months, by sports followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                                      • PGA, NASCAR, MLS, and NBA most reliant on star athletes
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 66: Reasons for following sports leagues, by sports followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                          • Figure 67: Sports fan clusters, April 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Cluster 1: Casual Fans
                                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                • Cluster 2: Team Loyalists
                                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster 3: Super Fans
                                                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                • Cluster 4: Identity Fans
                                                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 68: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by Sports fan clusters, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 69: Sports fans level of engagement, by sports fan clusters, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 70: Sports related purchases in the past 12 months, by sports fan clusters, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 71: Reasons for following sports leagues, by sports fan clusters, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 72: Favorite sports-related advertising themes, by sports fan clusters, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 73: Agreement with attitudes about sports team loyalty/team spirit, by sports fan clusters, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 74: Sports fan clusters, by demographic, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Social Media

                                                                                                                                                                          • Brand usage or awareness
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 75: Brand usage and awareness for selected sports leagues, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 76: MLB usage or awareness, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 77: NBA usage or awareness, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 78: NFL usage or awareness, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 79: NHL usage or awareness, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 80: MLS usage or awareness, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 81: NASCAR usage or awareness, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 82: PGA usage or awareness, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Activities done
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 83: Activities done, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 84: MLB – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this league online on social media, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 85: MLB – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 86: MLB – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 87: NBA – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this league online on social media, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 88: NBA – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 89: NBA – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 90: NFL – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this league online on social media, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 91: NFL – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 92: NFL – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 93: NHL – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this league online on social media, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 94: NHL – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 95: MLS – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this league online on social media, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 96: MLS – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 97: NASCAR – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this league online on social media, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 98: NASCAR – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because, by demographics, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Key social media metrics
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 99: Key social media metrics—NBA, June 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 100: Key social media metrics—NFL, June 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 101: Key social media metrics—NHL, June 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 102: Key social media metrics—MLB, June 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 103: Key social media metrics—NASCAR, June 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 104: Key social media metrics—MLS, June 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 105: Key social media metrics—PGA, June 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Online conversations
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 106: Online conversations for selected major league sports organizations, by week, June 30, 2013-June 29, 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 107: Online conversations for selected major league sports organizations, by page type, June 30, 2013-June 29, 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 108: Topics of online conversations for selected major league sports organizations, June 30, 2013-June 29, 2014
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                          • Major sports association interest and awareness
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 109: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by household income, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 110: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by marital/relationship status, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 111: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by presence of children in household, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 112: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by census regions – Divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 113: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by census regions – Divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 114: Major sports associations followed in the last 12 months, by repertoire of sports followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 115: Sports teens are very/somewhat interested in, by gender, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                                                                          • Sports fans level of engagement
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 116: Sports fans level of engagement, by gender and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 117: Sports fans level of engagement, by household income, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 118: Sports fans level of engagement, by presence of children in household, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 119: Sports fans level of engagement, by census regions – Divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 120: Sports fans level of engagement, by count of sports followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Sports-related purchases
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 121: Sports related purchases in the past 12 months, by household income, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 122: Sports related purchases in the past 12 months, by presence of children in household, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 123: Sports related purchases in the past 12 months, by gender and parents with children in household, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 124: Sports league clothing purchased in the last 12 months, by sports league clothing purchased in the last 12 months, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                                                                          • Reasons for following sports leagues
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 125: Reasons for following sports leagues, by gender, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 126: Reasons for following sports leagues, by gender and age, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 127: Reasons for following sports leagues, by census regions – Divisions, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Favorite sports-related advertising themes
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 128: Favorite sports-related advertising themes, by sports followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes about sports team loyalty/team spirit
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 129: Agreement with attitudes about sports team loyalty/team spirit, by presence of children in household, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 130: Agreement with attitudes about sports team loyalty/team spirit, by gender and parents with children in household, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 131: Agreement with attitudes about sports team loyalty/team spirit, by sports followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 132: Agreement with attitudes about sports team loyalty/team spirit, by count of sports followed in the last 12 months, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                          To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                                          Marketing to Sports Fans - US - July 2014

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