In its latest survey, “What’s the Score: The Evolution of Sports Media,” Hub Entertainment Research found access to sports strongly influences viewers’ choice of platform.
Sports fans care about sports more than other kinds of content, with almost 80% of sports fans saying that during the season, content about their favorite sport is more important than other things they watch on TV. More than a third (36%) say it’s much more important than other kinds of content.
Sports have the power to influence which platforms viewers sign up for, Hub also found. Across sports, 75% of avid fans said they would be likely to sign up for a new streaming subscription if they needed it to watch a sport they follow.
Fans are more likely to follow some sports to streaming than others, Hub found, but in general, 70% to 80% of avid fans would at least consider adding a new subscription. And half of NFL, NBA, and Premier League fans said they would be “very likely” to consider signing up if they needed a new platform to watch.
Besides drawing its own viewers, sports content drives discovery of other content on the same platforms. In the Hub survey, about a third (31%) said they often watch shows that they see promoted during a game or other sports content. When watching a live game, 27% said they often stay on the same channel to watch the show that comes on next (and another 38% do so “occasionally”).
“These findings reinforce that sports content will have a big impact on the next stage of the streaming wars, and might entirely settle them,” Jon Giegengack, principal at Hub, said in a statement. “There are lots of sports fans, and they care more about the sports they follow than anything else on TV. As expensive as rights have become, they may turn out to be the best investment: hours and hours of unique content which comes with a built-in audience that tunes in every season without fail.”
For the study, Hub conducted 3,016 interviews with U.S. sports fans age 13 to 74. The data were collected in January 2024.