- 14 de octubre, 2009

Game On! Online Sport Content Grows Around the Globe

Having recently joined Comscore from a background steeped in sport, it’s an area close to my heart. Outside of the U.S., I believe that sport Web sites are a rather under-researched component of the sporting world compared to other industries, but there are countless opportunities for the sports industry to continue to grow worldwide. The industry needs to embrace the strength and measurement tools of the Internet. Sport content owners and blue chip brands need to better understand what is working and what isn’t working for them to compete in the quick moving environment of digital content and e-commerce.

Online sport content, e-commerce and social media/networking cover the engagement opportunity basics and have provided the Internet with innovations such as fantasy football branded record-breaking games such as EA’s FIFA 2010. But overall, the category has struggled to “keep up with the Joneses”…the “Joneses” being alternative digital entertainment such as music, video games and social media, and also in terms of measuring advertising effectiveness and engagement. Knowing that a solid research study on the consumption of online sport content would be compelling and tell a useful story, I set off to discover who is consuming sport content online -- globally and regionally -- and in two major sporting markets (the U.S. and the U.K.), and how brands are benefiting from investing in properties appropriate to their needs.

Comscore was an official partner of Sports Business 360 last month, where I had the opportunity to present these research findings to a crowd dedicated to the world of sport. As a growing category of online interest, I wanted to also share the findings with readers of our blog, providing a detailed look at the current state of the online sports industry worldwide. A snapshot of the report follows:

Consumption of Sports Content – a Global Overview

  • Time spent on sports sites globally has increased by 25% year-over-year
  • Asia Pacific region represents a third of the global sports content audience
  • Sports sites reach 46% of the North American online population
  • Sports category audiences growing even in developed online markets – 22% annual growth in Europe
  • Consumers of sports content are engaged for 6% longer year-over-year
  • Developing online markets have younger consumers of sports content
  • Males account for 70% of sports content page views worldwide

Leading Sports Destinations

  • Yahoo! Sports has the strongest global presence, reaching 5.2% of the global online audience
  • But site reach does not equal engagement – more time is spent on ESPN
  • The European online sports content market is fragmented, with the leading site reaching 7.4 million people
  • ‘Local’ branded sport sites dominate markets in the Middle East/Africa and Latin America

Consumption of Sports Content – U.K. vs. U.S.

  • The percentage of total Internet users that visit sports sites are similar in the U.S. and U.K., but the number of visits to sports sites in America make up a smaller percentage of all web site visits. Additionally, the average time spent per visit on sports sites is longer in the U.S. (approximately 8 minutes), while the average U.K. visit was about 6 minutes.
  • The two markets have different age compositions, with 25-54 year olds over-represented in the U.K. market
  • 62% of the audience sports content audience in the U.K. is male, compared to 57% in the U.S.

Sporting Events Audiences Correlates with Sponsors

  • Wimbledon.org: A core demographic of wealthy 25-34 year olds, with visitors more than 4 times as likely to also visit Rolex.com (index = 423)
  • UEFA.com: A relatively older audience who are over four times more likely than the average online European to visit Mastercard.com (index = 425)
  • FIFA.com: Twice the representation of 15-24 year olds than the average Internet site, and an affinity with Adidas-Solomon sites at more than eight times the global average (index = 840)

Consumption of Sports Content on Mobile Internet

  • Sports information is the third top genre on mobile in Western Europe
  • 5 million people in the U.K. accessed mobile sports information in July 2009, an increase of 56% since 2007. Similar to the PC-based Internet, activity increased during major sporting events, especially football

An expanding, increasingly engaged audience bodes well for companies investing in online sports content. New opportunities and challenges are constantly emerging, from the developing international markets and mobile platform, to the tantalizing prospects of the 2010 World Cup and 2012 Olympics. While the potential is huge, I can’t over-communicate the importance of an in-depth understanding of the behavior of consumers of sports content. The composition of audiences and their online behavior patterns vary by site and location. Moreover, such is the dynamism of the online world, audiences and the ways they engage with content are constantly changing and, without proper measurement, can be hard to follow, let alone predict.

But as the Internet evolves, so do the tools to we use to understand it. With the announcement of Comscore MMX 360, the next generation of global digital audience measurement was unveiled, combining the best of both worlds of panel and server-side measurement, bringing the marketplace a comprehensive accounting of the complete digital media universe. Furthermore, with technological and connectivity improvements driving mobile Internet growth, Comscore’s partnership with the GSMA to create Mobile Media Metrics (MMM) represents a giant leap in our understanding of the mobile Internet – a crucial platform for sports content. With these developments, we can expect to see online advertising and sponsorship not only continue to grow, but to become increasingly effective, measurable, and accountable.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the full report, please visit our Presentation Library.

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