Streaming Sports: 12 Stats About Fan Viewing Habits [Infographic]

According to the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg and ThePostGame, 63% of all sports fans are interested in paying for an all-sports over-the-top channel. Of those interested in streaming sports, 56% would pay more for online streaming than for traditional TV channels. In households with children that number jumps to 70%, or 78% for people who self-report as “intense” sports fans.

“Sports is the last category of must-see-now content,” Jeffrey Cole, founder and director of the Center for the Digital Future told Broadcasting & Cable in an interview. “Based on our data, Gen Z and Millennial fans are clearly shifting preferences, behavior and spending.” Another interesting stat from this study: 80% of women describe themselves as sports fans and are willing to pay up to 50% more for OTT sports media content.

When it comes to consuming streaming sports content, 65% of the youngest fans – millennials and younger – are consuming sports content on a mobile device. The study also aligns with the Eagles’ finding that many of their fans are outside the local area, with 64% of fans living somewhere outside where their favorite team plays, noting: “The concept of a local sports market may be obsolete.”

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Another validation of the Philadelphia Eagles strategy: 50% of sports fans in the USC Annenberg study say they’ve watched supplemental sports programming with 60% – mostly millennials – reporting that it’s important to them.

By most forecasts, OTT is poised for massive growth over the next five years. London-based Digital TV Research Limited predicts that global OTT TV and video revenue will reach $64.8 billion globally by 2021. In the US alone, OTT revenue will increase to $22.8 billion in 2021. Digital TV Research Limited also estimates 383 million SVOD subscriptions around the world by 2021.


WANT TO LEARN HOW THE EAGLES HAVE BUILT A POWERFUL LIVE AND ON-DEMAND OTT PLATFORM? DOWNLOAD OUR CASE STUDY TO LEARN:

  • How the Philadelphia Eagles develop broadcast-quality live video for over 2M viewers.
  • Data and statistics on rising interest in sports on-demand content.
  • The equipment and tools the Eagles use to connect to fans with live video.

Marketing Best Practices: Why Not Just Stream To Facebook Live?

While Facebook Live should be a part of your overall livestreaming strategy, it’s important to diversify your distribution channels. A few things to consider as you build your live video strategy:

Variety is the Spice of Life: Go To Facebook (But Go Everywhere Else Too)

Most brands do not post updates to only one social media network. Similarly, why only stream your video to one platform? Facebook Live is an easy-to-use tool but should be considered but one tool in your diverse streaming distribution tool box. While there are one billion people in the world on Facebook, that means there are another seven billion NOT on Facebook. With Livestream you can also use tools like Livestream Audience Booster to reach people around the web with your stream on sites like ESPN and CNN. Build a strategy that reaches your audience in a number of different locations. Using syndication tools like those built into the Livestream platform, you don’t have to pick and choose. You can push content to all platforms at once and ensure you’re not missing key segments of your audience.

Convert Facebook Viewers Into Your Audience + Customers

While Facebook has the reach, your ultimate goal should be getting people back to your website. Turn viewers into traffic by hyping or sampling content on Facebook Live while encouraging them to head back to your page. Additionally, if you are using cookie tracking or retargeting in your marketing strategy, you can only track the people watching video on your site. By driving Facebook audiences back to your site you can collect much more information about your audience. And, of course, you can turn your audience into that most important outcome that you are hoping for – customers of your business!

Control The Message

With Facebook Live, you don’t have as much control over the viewing experience. Watching your video in a fully branded portal with custom calls to action is more likely to convert. Viewers are less likely to be distracted by notifications or other things happening on the platform. In fact, based on a recent survey we conducted, viewers prefer to engage content on a branded destination for just that reason. 40% of audiences want to watch live video NOT on social media, but at a dedicated web destination.

Shifting Sands

What Facebook undeniably has, and what won’t change in the near future, is reach. Streaming to Facebook Live immediately gives you access to millions of eyeballs where they already are, which is good marketing distribution 101.

In the past two years, Facebook’s algorithm has changed 24 times – an average of one update per month. Marketers and brands never know how Facebook’s feed algorithm will shift in the future, making it an unsteady place to build a brand or content strategy on its own. As all social media platforms change based on audience interests and behavior, it’s hard to build a reliable strategy when you don’t control the platform.

Support + Quality

A stream on Facebook is not optimized for large-screen or high-quality viewership. Video quality is the most important factor for 67% of viewers when watching a livestream broadcast.

If there are any issues with your stream – or your stream is taken down for any reason – there is no one to call at any large social media platform. Many large companies stream on multiple platforms to account for any outages caused by electricity, bandwidth, or the platform. When streaming to more than one player/platform, you have a back up to direct your audience to in case of emergency. Additionally, dedicated streaming platforms like Livestream offer round the clock support for Premium and Enterprise customers. If you have issues with your stream, we’re a phone call away.


Our free guide, “Live Streaming for Social Media,” is the perfect crash course for organizations of any size. Download the guide to learn:

  • How to connect with viewers on Facebook Live and other social media platforms.
  • Why Facebook Live should be part – but not all – of your live streaming strategy.
  • How to stream to Facebook Live.
  • How to analyze the success of your live video.

DOWNLOAD THE LIVE STREAMING FOR SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDE.