Sports captivate audiences worldwide, from the crowd’s roar at NFL games to the thrill of following college basketball tournaments. But amidst the excitement of the games, there’s a rising star in the world of sports engagement that marketers shouldn’t overlook: sports audio.

A recent collaboration between SiriusXM Media, GroupM, and Edison Research resulted in the groundbreaking Sports Audio Report. This comprehensive study delved deep into the habits and preferences of sports fans in the US, shedding light on the pivotal role of audio content in their engagement with sports and leagues.

According to the study, 2 in 3 Americans 13+ consider themselves sports fans, and in the US, people spend more than two hours longer with audio content daily. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key findings.

A quiet revolution is underway in a world where sports stories dominate headlines, captivating audiences with every twist and turn. From the thrill of the NFL season to the exhilarating moments on the basketball court, sports enthusiasts are embracing a new way to experience their favourite games: through the power of audio.

The Numbers Speak Volumes

Two out of three Americans aged 13 and above proudly declare themselves as sports fans, constituting a formidable demographic of 186 million. But what sets these fans apart is their deep affinity for audio content. Devoting an impressive 6 hours and 26 minutes to audio each day, sports enthusiasts spend over two hours more than the average American, immersing themselves in the rich tapestry of sports-related audio experiences.

The Changing Face of Sports Fandom

As the landscape of sports fandom evolves, so too does its composition. While traditional demographics may have skewed towards white and male fans, a new wave of enthusiasts is emerging. Younger generations and diverse audiences are leading the charge, bringing fresh perspectives and passions to the forefront of sports culture. This shift is reflected in the eclectic array of sports that fans follow closely, from the NFL to soccer and everything in between.

Empowering Women in Sports

One of the most significant changes in recent years is the rising interest in women’s sports. With historic viewership numbers and growing fan bases, female-led narratives captivate audiences across demographics. From Gen Z and millennials to diverse audiences, fans are increasingly drawn to women’s sports teams and athletes, driving a surge of interest that shows no signs of slowing down.

The growing prominence of women’s sports

iHeartMedia and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment have launched the Women’s Sports Audio Network (WSAN), a free, ad-supported platform featuring podcasts, daily sports updates, and athlete spotlights.

WSAN aims to increase access to women athletes and their stories, amplifying their presence on a national scale. Led by sports media personality Sarah Spain and WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes, the network will offer daily shows and commentary across various sports.

The iHeartSports network will also contribute by running dedicated women’s sports reports daily across its 500+ broadcast stations. This initiative aligns with the booming growth of women’s sports, which is set to reach a $1 billion industry this year despite only receiving 15% of media coverage.

iHeartMedia Chief Marketing Officer Gayle Troberman emphasised the importance of recognising women’s sports’ momentum and leveraging iHeart’s vast audience reach to elevate their visibility. Deep Blue Founder and CEO Laura Correnti underscored the necessity for media and commercial investment to keep pace with the growing demand and sustain this upward trajectory.

Audio offerings cater to sports fans in several ways

  1. Diverse Perspectives: According to a survey, 66% of sports listeners tune in to gain unique insights and perspectives on sports that aren’t readily available through other media channels. This differentiated content allows fans to delve deeper into their favourite sports and better understand the games they love.
  2. Community Engagement: For 86% of sports listeners, audio helps them stay connected to their favourite teams and sports. Additionally, 58% use audio content to become part of a broader community of fans, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie within the sports community.
  3. Connection with Peers: Audio content also facilitates personal connections, with 56% of sports listeners using it to feel more connected to friends, family, and colleagues who share their passion for sports. Whether discussing game highlights or debating player performances, audio content catalyses meaningful interactions among sports enthusiasts.
  4. Strategic Insights: In sports betting and fantasy sports, audio provides a valuable resource for fans seeking a competitive edge. Fifty-two per cent of sports listeners utilise audio content to stay informed and make more informed decisions when betting on games or managing their fantasy sports teams. This access to insider knowledge enhances the overall sports experience for avid fans.

The Influence of Sports Audio

Sports audio is at the heart of this revolution, offering fans a unique way to engage with their favourite teams and athletes. Whether through podcasts, satellite radio shows, or traditional broadcasts, audio content provides fans with differentiated perspectives, community connections, and valuable insights into sports. This immersive experience fosters deeper engagement and drives consumer behaviour, with audio listeners emerging as bigger sports merchandise and memorabilia spenders.

A Winning Strategy for Brands

Audio presents a golden opportunity for brands looking to tap into the passion and loyalty of sports fans. Athlete endorsements and advertisements resonate deeply with fans, driving purchasing decisions and fostering trusted relationships between brands and consumers. By embracing the audio revolution, brands can extend their reach and enhance their presence in the dynamic world of sports media.

Audio remains a critical component of fan engagement and brand strategy as the sports landscape evolves. From immersive experiences to meaningful connections, sports audio offers a gateway to a world of excitement and passion. By harnessing the power of audio content, brands can elevate their presence and connect with fans on a deeper level, ensuring a winning strategy for success in the ever-changing realm of sports media.

Source: Siriusxmmedia website.