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Study: 80% of UK sports fans want to watch sport exclusively on streaming platforms

Grabyo survey also reveals 38% jump in short-form video content consumption.

29 November 2022 Josh Sim

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  • 40% of fans watch sport using online streaming platforms
  • TikTok found to be fastest-growing social platform
  • 65% more female sports fans on back of England’s Euro 2022 success

A study conducted by cloud video provider Grabyo has revealed that 80 per cent of UK sports fans want to watch sport exclusively on streaming platforms.

The survey also reveals that online streaming platforms are the most popular mediums to watch sports for 40 per cent of UK fans. By contrast, the number of fans using pay-TV networks for sports viewing has declined by 27 per cent since 2021. There was also an increase of 47 per cent in the usage of smartphones to view video content among UK sports supporters.

Streaming audiences for sport in the UK have grown tremendously, with the BBC recently reporting that England’s opening World Cup win over Iran was streamed eight million times on both the iPlayer platform and on the BBC Sport website. The game became the broadcaster’s most live-streamed event over a 24-hour period.

When it comes to social media, YouTube was found to be the most popular platform among UK sports fans for video content, with Facebook and TikTok also in the top three. TikTok was the fastest-growing platform, with a 42 per cent increase in users among UK sports fans in the past 12 months.

Indeed, there was a 38 per cent increase in the consumption of short-form video, including athlete clips, behind the scenes content or training footage. Yet live streaming and instant highlights remain integral on social media, as more than half of UK sports fans were found to watch these types of videos regularly.

Grabyo’s report, based on a survey of more than 1,000 UK consumers, also found that the number of female sports fans has increased by 65 per cent since 2021, driven in part by England’s success in the 2022 Uefa Women’s European Championship.

“Since 2019 we have been closely tracking how sports fans want to consume video, and this year’s findings suggest we’re nearing a tipping point,” said Gareth Capon, Grabyo chief executive.

“Sports viewership may begin to fall back unless more flexible streaming options become available. Many broadcasters are acutely aware of this trend, but our findings paint a clear picture of what sports fans want from rights holders and broadcasters.

“With social media and streaming becoming the preferred options for video viewing, linear broadcast audiences will continue to fall.”

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