Since joining a Fantasy Football league last year, this is what an average Fall evening looks like in my household: It’s Thursday night and I’m nestled between my dog and boyfriend on the couch, while one massive linebacker tackles a wide receiver on the TV in our living room.  As the game unfolds, my laptop screen displays my fantasy football app, ensuring I stay up-to-date with my team’s performance. In those slower moments between plays or during commercial breaks, I seamlessly switch to my phone, to scroll through a seemingly endless amount of Instagram reels. It’s multitasking at its finest—a prime example of how sports fans engage with various screens and opportunities for brands to captivate their attention.

Today’s sports fans have transformed the way they consume live sports content. With the rise of second-screen experiences and the increasing use of mobile devices, brands now have a unique opportunity to engage with multitasking consumers. This blog explores the evolving behaviors of sports fans and highlights key data points that emphasize the potential for brands to connect with their target audience while they are immersed in the excitement of the game.

Changing Live Sports Watching Behaviors

A staggering 76% of sports streamers engage in one or more screens while watching games. In fact, our recent Custom Fall Football Survey reveals a 16% year-over-year increase in sports fans who find it important to keep up with the game on multiple devices.  The average sports viewer’s ability to  multitask – splitting their attention across multiple devices – places them in both an active (lean forward) and passive (lean-back) mindset, establishing the perfect contextual triggers for personalized messaging on each individual platform.

Aki Blog - Sports Fans

The Dominance of TV and Mobile Engagement

While TV remains the dominant platform for consuming sports content across all demographics, Millennial and Gen Z sports streamers spend more time watching on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. This shift allows them to multitask by checking social media (41%) or even indulging in online shopping (26%), and presents an excellent opportunity for brands to reach tech-savvy audiences through tailored messaging during live sporting events.

Real-World Activities and Non-Sports Endemic Messaging

Interestingly, younger generations are slightly more likely than older ones to engage in real-world activities while watching sports. Whether it’s cooking, eating, or drinking, these moments away from screens provide opportunities for non-sports endemic messages to resonate better when users return to their devices. Brands can strategically connect with this engaged audience by delivering relevant advertisements during breaks or halftime.

The Power of Game-Time TV/Mobile Commercials

Our recent Aki Custom Fall Football Survey reports that 54% of live-sport watchers recall purchasing items featured in game-time TV/mobile commercials within six months. Moreover, Gen Z adults are 34% more likely, and Millennial adults are 10% more likely to recall making purchases within six months of exposure to these commercials compared to the total population. This data underscores the influence and impact of advertising during live sports events.

Another survey finding reveals that those who watch sports via social media platforms are very likely (42%) to order day-of snacks or groceries for delivery. This means brands can leverage social media channels to not only engage with fans but also drive immediate actions during crucial in-game moments.

Aki Blog - Sports Fans

Brand Awareness and Purchase Decision-Makers

According to Statista’s Consumer Insights Survey, sports followers are more likely to be brand aware and purchase decision-makers across various categories. Consumer electronics, clothing/shoes, vehicles/bikes and food/drinks all show higher percentages of brand awareness among sports followers compared to non-sports followers. This insight highlights the potential for brands in these sectors to connect with an attentive and receptive audience during live sports events.

Aki Blog - Sports Fans

The evolving behaviors of multitasking sports fans present a significant opportunity for brands to engage with their target audience like never before. With the rise of second-screen experiences and increased mobile engagement during live sporting events, brands can strategically position themselves through game-time TV/mobile commercials and targeted advertisements on social media platforms. By understanding the preferences and habits of sports followers, brands can create relevant messaging that resonates with this engaged audience while they indulge in their passion for sports. 

Contact us to receive a personalized sports strategy for your brand and download our Fall Football Guide for more consumer insights. 

Rachel Gropper, Sr. Manager of Market Insights & Strategy