UK sports fans increasingly reliant on mobile devices for sports news

Digital and Mobile Platforms

UK sports fans increasingly reliant on mobile devices for sports news

  • Analysis of bi-annual ESPN research reveals changing face of British sports fan
  • Average fan spends more time following sport than using social media, doing housework or exercising
  • Fans rely on technology more than ever to follow sports, with newspaper use in steady decline
  • Fans have strong appetite for new products, with 4 in 10 planning to upgrade their smartphone within the year

ESPN has revealed research that shines a spotlight on the huge role following sport plays in the lives of UK fans. The average UK sports fan spends 7hr 24min following sport in a typical week compared to 5hr 24min on social media, 5hr 12min doing housework, or 4hr 30 min exercising. The figures come from ESPN’s bi-annual survey of fans, and offer an insight into the changing habits and preferences of UK sports fans.

The research also sheds light on how UK fans are choosing to follow their favourite sport, with 87% depending on their smartphone for sports news. ESPN has seen the same trend across their digital platforms in the UK, with 71% of ESPN’s audience coming exclusively from mobile in December 2015 according to comScore, up from 58% in January 2015.

British fans’ increasing reliance on smartphones to follow sport is matched by a marked increase in consumption via tablet, with 77% of fans using tablets to consume sports, up 87% since 2011. The increase in use of mobile devices coincides with a decline in print newspapers as a regular source of sports news. The data indicates that only 23% of sports fans read a newspaper on a daily basis – down from 47% just four years ago.

The rising importance of smartphones to sports fans is emphasised by the fact that 19% of fans use their phone to watch, listen to or check live sport every day, while 36% use it to follow sports news every day.

The findings also show the correlation between sport and technology, with 49% admitting they love owning the latest piece of technology. A new smartphone topped the list for the most in-demand item with 40% of sports fan planning to upgrade their smartphone within the next year.

Charly Classen, Vice President and General Manager, ESPN EMEA, said “Sports fans spending more and more time on mobile devices won’t be a surprise to many people. What perhaps is surprising is the amount of time they are spending following sport while increasingly consuming that content on the move. More than ever, we build our digital products and create our content with mobile as the first use case, and then adapt across all others. We do that because we believe it’s the best environment for our fans and for advertisers looking to reach an immensely engaged audience.”

The insight comes from bi-annual research conducted on behalf of ESPN byNetfluential, surveying more than 1,000 UK sports fans on their media habits and consumption.

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