Do you find yourself screaming at the TV when watching your favorite sport? You’re not alone. People around the world love watching, interacting with, and even playing sports on a regular basis. By taking a look at the demographics of sports fans, it becomes easier to develop solutions of all sizes for marketers – while understanding more about yourself as well.
In the United States, sports fans primarily watch 7 professional sports on a regular basis.
Each fan of a professional sport has some unique characteristics within their demographic that is important to know. Your favorite sport can describe you more accurately than you may believe.
Gender in Sports
- 37% of sports fans who watch NASCAR on a regular basis are women, making this sport the highest in terms of gender equality. The PGA and the NFL come in second at 35%.
- The NBA and MLB tie for the least amount of gender equality, with 30% of their fan base being female.
- In 4 of the 7 regularly watched professional sports, the 35-54 age group is the largest age demographic of sports fans. The PGA has 63% of their fan base in the 55+ age category, while MLB has 50% of their fan base in the 55+ age category.
- Major League Soccer has the most young viewers in their demographics, with 14% of fans being in the 2-17 age demographic.
- Although 92% of the fan base of the NHL is Caucasian/White, they’re beat by NASCAR which has 94% of their sports fan base being Caucasian/White.
- Only the NBA has more African-American/Black sports fans than White/Caucasian sports fans as regular viewers.
- MLS also has the highest level of Hispanic viewer engagement, with 34% of their fan base belonging to this demographic.
Sports fans are primarily men. 2 out of 3 fans in almost every sport are men, but that number is slowly starting to change. As professional leagues begin to embrace their female fans more, provide gender-specific fan gear, and offer other incentives to watch games, women are finding their love for sports is growing. This is why it is so important for both genders to be targeted equally today because more women are becoming sports fans every day.
Finances and Sports Fans
- The NHL has more sports fans who make more than $100k every year than any other professional sport, with 1 in 3 fans making that much money every year.
- NASCAR has the fewest fans making more than $100k per year, with just 14% of the fan base at this income level.
- MLS caters to the overall poorest income demographics for US sports fans, with 37% of the total fan base making $40k or less during the average year.
- The average sports fan in the United States makes between $40-75k every year.
- The average attendance for an NBA game: 17,000 people. The average attendance for a NASCAR race: 98,000.
- The NBA finals generates more than 26 million tweets over the course of at least 4 games. The Super Bowl for the NFL generates only 600,000 fewer tweets in just one game.
The average sports fan isn’t wealthy. They aren’t living in poverty either. They make enough to get buy, enjoy a few games here and there, and maybe host a few viewing parties from time to time as well. Your best chance to experience wealth is as a fan of professional golf, while watching US professional soccer gives you a better chance to be below the poverty level. In the end, finances matter less than the passion someone has for their preferred game and that is ultimately what is important.
What Sport Dominates?
- In 2013, NFL games accounted for 34 out of the 35 most-watched television shows in the Fall season.
- Over 100 million people tune in to watch the Super Bowl every year. At the other end of the spectrum, only 320,000 people tune in to watch the MLS playoffs each year.
- Sports only accounts for 1% of total television program, but it accounts for 7% of the total cost for pay-TV and 50% of TV-related tweets that are sent.
- College football is stronger than some professional sports fan demographics, but has 40% of its viewership over the age of 55 and 80% of the fan base is White/Caucasian.
- Yet compared to the rest of the world, US sports fans are a small percentage of the demographics. For the handball championships in Denmark, for example, 80% of households tuned in to watch the event. 1 in 3 households tune in to watch the Super Bowl.
Many people love sports. Many people love to watch and comment on the games they enjoy. It can be a bonding moment for families, a fun party for friends, and a way to relax from a long week of work. The demographics of sports fans may be changing, especially in terms of gender, but the enjoyment that sports provide will never change.