The fourth edition of the Catalyst, Sports Fans Digital Media Habits Study, on behalf of SportsBusiness Journal, was released this week. Catalyst’s, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Bret Werner, and, Vice President, Insights, Michelle Gordon, spoke to the Sports Techie blog about their social media study and offered our community insight into the continuing convergence of sports and digital media among sports fans, including year-over-year trends and opportunities for brand engagement.
Catalyst, an IMG consulting company, is a public relations agency located in New York city, focused on consumers who are passionate about sports, entertainment and leading an active lifestyle. They work with SUBWAY® Restaurants, Under Armour, TIMEX, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and vitaminwater to create communications strategies that engage consumers and influence behavior.
Fan Engagement Study
For the past four years, Catalyst has created the Catalyst Fan Engagement Study which measured digital media attitudes and usage habits of more than 2,100 avid sports fans. Fielded by REPUCOM in August 2013, the survey collected information from more than avid sports fans aged 16 – 64, measuring the digital media attitudes and usage habits of NFL, NBA, MLB, college football and basketball, and for the first time, soccer fans. Michelle informed me that, “The data came from avid fans based in the U.S. fans although soccer fans in Brazil and the UK are part of the study for the first time.” The studies International football data will be released in the coming weeks.
“Content strategy is a major component for any brand, and this study reinforces that sports fans frequently consume and engage with social content that takes them well beyond the box score,“ said Werner, “Avid sports fans are more likely to interact and identify with brands that act like fans.”
Some key findings are:
- Nearly 70 percent of sports fans who “like” or follow brands on social media are willing to take additional action, including purchasing, commenting or sharing brand content.
- While Facebook remains the most widely used channel, fans are increasingly using Google+ and YouTube to disseminate and acquire sports information, Google+ (+94%) and YouTube (+35%) witnessed the largest year-over-year growth.
- Game day social network interaction is on the rise, fans frequently engage with content that advances story lines or provides a point of view. Pre-game excitement (72%), historic video (68%), bloopers (66%), Q&A with coaches and players (66%) and game debate/banter (63%) are among the most popular.
- Fans engage on social channels before, during and after sporting events at a higher rate than ever before. In some cases, engagement is more than 30% higher than compared to 2012.
- US Soccer fans are the most likely to use social media for sports information.
- One third of polled sports fans play predictive games related to sport.
The full SportsBusiness Journal study can be found here.
For a more in-depth review of the findings, or information about Catalyst and how the agency is developing and executing innovative digital programs for its client partners, please contact Bret Werner at [email protected].
Sports Techie, The spike on Facebook use after the game is one of the key findings of this proprietary, “Beyond the Like” social media study. Any small, medium or large business, be that in sports technology or another Industry, can query the large amount of data procured by Catalyst, or have your own custom data mined, by contacting Bret. Their company insight into avid fans social media habits is a wise dissection of Big Data that is useful for targeted marketing and advertising.
“By keeping our finger on the pulse of an ever-changing media landscape, we’re able to obtain valuable insights on how sports fans consume information,” said David Abrutyn, Senior Vice President, Global Director of IMG Consulting. “This study enables us to identify opportunities and offer solutions that best serve our clients and their customers.”
Their info about the TV viewing habits of avid US Soccer fans is telling, there is a significant amount of avid Hispanic sports consumers using social media for brands to take notice. I asked about Fantasy Football data and how that affected the numbers and whether they had seen a spike in the “Game Debate/Banter” category because of the exploding usage. Bret’s responded that was it was, “Off the charts.” Google+ Hangouts is fast becoming the tool for fans to engage with sports information. Game day is owned by Twitter with 6 touches per fan.
Werner shared how, “Finding the right balance,” is key for brands, whether that be by using traditional media channels or new avenues such as Linkedin, Vine, and Pinterest. Especially at the pace the “sports fan is evolving” says Bret. He added that, “The visualization of things and much more of a digital experience for fans” is now upon us.
A few of the final trends we discussed included how over 50 percent polled across all platforms, “View/Responded” to content created by other, “Fans/Friends” as the top means. Gordon also mentioned that, “Post-game is a large growth area.” Finally, and to no surprise, fans want a “coupon” or a “chance to win a prize” and the opportunity to simply “show their support” over 50 percent, while 46 percent want the option to be “supportive of a charity cause.” I would like to see that last number flip to the top for a better sportsbiz world.
It is encouraging that 7 out of 10 fans will activate after following or “liking” a brand, so thank you Sports Techie for being part of our sports technology centric community, I like that.
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