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b4p sports trend study: is sports coverage changing?

BCN Marketing

In the current trend report ‘Sports Coverage in Transition’, Germany’s leading market media study ‘best for planning’ (b4p) sheds light on the most popular types of sports as well as different target groups’ expectations concerning sports coverage.

Sports are firmly anchored in the lives of Germans

Germans are enthusiastic about sports. More than nine out of ten Germans (91%) are sports fans and actively participate in sports or follow sports coverage in the media. That being said, people actively participate in sports (84%) more often than they passively follow them in the media (73%). Women (85%) actively participate in sports slightly more often than men (83%), whereas men (82%) inform themselves about sports via newspapers, magazines, television, radio or the internet significantly more often than women (64%).

Women’s football is significantly gaining in popularity thanks to the European Women’s Championship

The most popular type of sport in the media for 61% of respondents is men’s football, followed by women’s football (44%), ski jumping (43%) and biathlon (39%). The women’s excellent run to the final of the European Football Championship last year, with 18 million TV viewers, was not only the televised event with the highest viewing figures but also won the women a lot of popularity as well as new fans: for 15% of respondents, interest in women’s football has increased in the last 12 months.

American football and e-sports are on the rise

There are however other rising stars in the world of sports: almost a third (30%) of Germans are now interested in American football. And among the younger ones between the ages of 16 and 29, the percentage is even 42%. In this age group, interest in American football has developed in a particularly positive fashion in the past 12 months: 15% say their interest in American football has increased. Another type of trending sport that has emerged is e-sports, which is now enjoyed by 32% of respondents across all age groups. This puts e-sports, among the German population, at a level similar to basketball (34%), snowboarding (32%), volleyball (31%) and American football (30%).

E-sports is becoming a mass phenomenon among men under 30

Virtual sports are incredibly popular, especially in the target group of young men between the ages of 16 and 29: 72% find e-sports exciting. This puts this type of sport in second place behind men’s football (76%). However, the rapidly increasing popularity among the young male target group is also noteworthy: one in three (33%) have expressed an increasing interest in e-sports in recent months, and 41% also say they watch e-sports competitions on YouTube (60%), Instagram and Twitch (both 51%). If this trend continues, in the next few years, we can expect a fundamental shift in the consumption of sports coverage in the media in Germany.

Impartial and live reporting are most important in sports coverage

German sports fans place the most value on impartial, objective reporting (71%) and live reporting (67%). There are however considerable differences between the age groups in terms of the demands placed on sports coverage: older sports fans age 50 and older find live media coverage significantly more important than younger sports fans under the age of 30 (73% vs. 58%). Having said that, younger sports fans under the age of 30 place more value on ‘entertainment’ (53%) and ‘personalisation’ (51%) and are interested in information about the athletes’ characters and private lives. On the other hand, only 28% of the 50+ generation want to be entertained, and only a quarter are interested in the athletes’ private lives.

Sports streaming services are particularly popular with the younger population

Two thirds of people age 16 to 29 (66%) use at least one paid sports streaming service to keep up with sports. As the age increases, this percentage decreases to 50% among people age 30 to 49 and to 27% among those in the 50+ age group. Across all age groups, just under half of the respondents (43%) watch sports via streaming services, 12% have used a paid sports streaming service provider in the past and another 10% can imagine subscribing to a sports streaming service in the future. More than a third (35%) have never used a paid sports streaming service and cannot imagine doing so in the future.

Methodology: This information is based on an online survey conducted in December 2022 in which questions were posed to 1,041 people in Germany age 16 and over. The survey is representative of Germany’s entire online population. The complete study ‘b4p trends Sport’ is available for download on the GIK website free of charge.