And The Crowd Goes Wild! What Advertisers Should Know About Modern Sports Fans

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Whether you’re a Chiefs fan decked in all Red, a 49ers Lover since before their 1989 Super Bowl win, or are a Fearless Tortured Poet willing to Speak Now and put your Reputation on the line hoping for a 13-13 tie over many overtimes that pushes the game past Midnight(s) and into Folklore forEvermore, one constant we’ve all counted on and looked forward to in the Super Bowl Era is all of the memorable commercials.

And just in time for this weekend’s game, new research from Infillion is being released that takes a look at how sports fans have changed over time and what advertisers can glean from those changes.

“For years, sports had stayed relatively analog as the rest of the world went digital, which meant that brands could stick to tried-and-true tactics,” writes Caroline McCarthy, Infillion’s vice president of marketing. “The Super Bowl still drew the enormous, multi-demographic linear TV audiences that advertisers craved, and its high-impact commercial spots continued to command both enormous media spend and peak consumer attention … but sports were inevitably going to be hit by the digital revolution.”

Almost half (46%) of the sports fans surveyed are watching more sports on streaming services than before 2020, a product of more leagues partnering with streaming platforms in addition to their traditional broadcast partners. WARC forecasts that spending on sports media rights this year will reach nearly $61 billion globally, and, in a new Global Ad Trends report, warns of this “fragmentation of sports rights” making it costlier and more complex for fans to follow games.

(Source: WARC)

Overall, fans still prefer to watch on TV, and, tellingly, 29% canceled their streaming subscription following a change in that live sports offering, including 47% of Gen Z sports fans.

“While marketers have been frustrated for years over Gen Z’s weakened affinity for live sports, the right way to look at it is that this younger demographic is choosier about how they watch,” McCarthy writes. 73% of Gen Zers want ad-free options for sports streaming (compared to 60% overall), but the research also found that younger sports fans were more enthusiastic about brands that “find relevant ways to integrate into their favorite sports,” including seeing their favorite teams and athletes in the ads.

In conducting its survey, Infillion had an almost even split of female (51%) and male (49%) respondents, ultimately finding that females are more likely to consider themselves “enthusiastic fans” while males prefer to identify as “hardcore fans.”

Now, if only there was a name for the 29% who are more likely to tune in to Sunday’s game simply because of a certain fan’s potential presence.

Enjoy the Big Game (Taylor’s Version)!



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