Thursday 23 January 2020

Sports fans shelling out more than ever on subscriptions - report

There is more live sport being broadcast into our homes and ever-growing numbers of ways to consume it, which is fuelling a boom in subscriptions, podcasts and social media interactions. Stock photo: Getty
There is more live sport being broadcast into our homes and ever-growing numbers of ways to consume it, which is fuelling a boom in subscriptions, podcasts and social media interactions. Stock photo: Getty

Peter Sweeney

There is more live sport being broadcast into our homes and ever-growing numbers of ways to consume it, which is fuelling a boom in subscriptions, podcasts and social media interactions.

These are just some of the findings of the Teneo Sport and Sponsorship Index (TSSI) 2019, published earlier this week. The TSSI is a 1,000-person nationally representative survey with quotas imposed across gender, region, age and social class.

Irish sports fans pay, on average, €430 per year on sporting television packages, pay-per-view events and online streaming.

Ireland is a nation of sports fanatics and we spend a lot of time and money watching events at grounds around the country and on screens.

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We constantly hear that television is struggling to keep its audience, as people turn to streaming services and on-demand TV.

But sport still grabs the attention of the Irish public and people regularly tune in in huge numbers for major events, be that the All-Ireland finals, the Six Nations, Republic of Ireland games or any of our other big sporting favourites.

An impressive 65pc of Irish people watched at least one sporting event in 2019. With more live sport behind paywalls, one in four Irish people has a subscription to a sports television package, while 7pc paid to watch a pay-per-view sporting event this year. PPV events are most popular with 18-to-24-year-olds, with 24pc of this group paying for at least one in 2019.

The average monthly spend on sport television subscriptions, streaming and pay-per-view was €36.10 per month. Over-55s were the biggest spenders in this market, shelling out €45.50 monthly while the lowest, at €20.10, was among 18-to-24-year-olds.

While watching sport, Irish people are likely to be second-screening - looking at their phone and engaging with social media around the event.

According to the TSSI, one in three will check at least one of their favourite apps during an event or game. This is down slightly from 2014, the first year the TSSI asked about social media use around sporting events, when 38pc were second-screening. Are people focusing more on the game now? Time, and further research, will tell.

The most popular reason given for keeping an eye on social media was checking other scores (46 per cent). 23pc of males said they wanted to give their opinions against just 9pc of women. Respondents in the 18-to-24-year-old group were most likely to want to show that they were involved (46 per cent).

Facebook is the most popular social media platform for sports fans to use during an event. Almost three-quarters of those who use social media while watching sport on a screen check Facebook.

It is most popular in the 45-to-54-year-old age group, and it's more popular among women than men. Instagram is the most popular among 18-to-24-year-olds. The platform is much more popular among females than males.

Ireland is a nation of radio addicts and this has possibly fuelled the growth in the podcast market. Their popularity amongst the younger demographic gives a glimpse into the future of radio, which like television is likely to be led by streaming and on-demand consumption.

This is the first year the TSSI asked questions about podcasts and the findings are that 14pc of Irish people listen to a sports-themed podcast weekly. The average weekly time spent listening is between one-and-two hours at 49 per cent.

Newspapers retain strong support, with 11pc of TSSI respondents buying a paper for sports news and information. Papers remain most popular with the 45+ demographic.Websites, too, are a popular source of sports information, though men are more likely to use the web for this - 34 per cent as opposed to 8 per cent of women.

Just over one-third of Irish people attended a sporting event in 2019.

The over-55s were most likely to have watched from home at 74 per cent. The most likely to attend sporting events in person are males between the ages of 25-and-34, and 45-to-54-year-old men, both at 40 per cent. One in four females have attended a sporting event in the last year.

Peter Sweeney is a senior consultant with Teneo

Irish Independent

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