NEWS8 March 2022

Nielsen Sports highlights growth of live streaming

Leisure & Arts News Trends UK

UK – Sponsorship analytics and fan intelligence specialist Nielsen Sports’ 2022 marketing report has revealed that 40.7% of global fans now stream live sports through digital platforms. 

Man watching sports streaming live on digital device

In turn, this has led to an increase in over-the-top (OTT) media rights, which includes a 19% jump for the top European football leagues over the last two years at local level, plus a 31% increase forecasted for the men’s tennis ATP Tour from now until 2023.The study, entitled Fans are changing the game, outlines how Nielsen predicts fandom in 2022 will impact sports sponsorship models, content distribution, the rise of crypto, e-sports and women’s sports.

The demand for content overall remains high with non-event broadcasts, such as highlights and recap videos, nearly as high as the event itself. Nielsen estimates that 39.4% of global fans will watch non-live content related to a live sports event. Sports viewership has become a multi-screen experience, with 47% of people who watch sports simultaneously interacting with other live content, up 5% over the last year.

In terms of women’s sports, Nielsen estimates there was a 146% year-on-year rise in unbundled sponsorship investment, (UEFA, FIFA, World Rugby) compared to a 27% increase in 2020. With more women’s sports being televised, there are now increased sponsorship opportunities, meaning that many brands are now able to interact with consumers who weren’t previously reached through sponsorships in men’s sport.

Other findings include the fact that sports sponsorships grew by 107% in 2021; through an analysis of 100 sponsorships in seven markets across 20 industries, Nielsen found that sponsorships drove an average 10% lift in purchase intent among the fanbase. Overall, Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising Study showed that 81% of global respondents either completely or somewhat trust brand sponsorships at sporting events.

Athletes have shown a higher potential to establish connections with fans, with 26% of avid sports fans who use social media for sports news saying that athletes are a great way to connect with brands and sponsors.

There were 2,254 publicly announced e-sport sponsorship deals globally in 2021 compared to 1,785 in 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing segments of the global entertainment industry. In the last year, the female esports fan base grew by 19%, while the male fan base grew by 12%.

Marco Nazzari, managing director, international of Nielsen Sports, said: “From our work as a data-driven company and by surveying thousands of fans, it is clear to see that sports fans demand new types of content driven by innovative delivery platforms.  In turn, this impacts on how rights holders and brands should approach audience engagement and sponsorship outcomes.

“With sponsorship sophistication rising, measuring effectiveness at every step is now expected by brands. Predicting ROI and sales lift will be key for sports rights holders to remain relevant and secure marketing budgets from brands going forward.”

He continued: “As traditional and digital worlds merge, the sponsorship lifecycle is now broadening, creating additional and more well-rounded monetisation opportunities. It will become vital for brands to leverage new technology and utilise digital platforms to develop fan-engagement strategies that didn’t exist before in linear broadcasting. The fan is now the catalyst for huge change.”