The National Basketball Association (NBA) is unique in US professional sports because it has the youngest overall audience. It also has the higher share of African-Americans who regularly view its games.
45% of NBA fans that regularly watch games are under the age of 35. That’s the same percentage of African-American viewers, which is 3x higher than college basketball or even the NFL.
Although the Super Bowl has 10x the amount of viewership as the NBA finals and its championship games barely score above a season matchup in US football, the demographics are strong with this sport. It is regularly rated as the #2 professional sport in the US.
Lessons Learned From NBA Fan Demographics
- Sports programming makes up just 1% of all TV shows, yet accounts for 50% of tweets that are sent about television shows.
- 70% of NBA fans are male.
- 62% of NBA fans are in the 18-54 age demographic. It it the only professional sport in the US where people of a Caucasian ancestry are outnumbered for total viewership.
- 53% of NBA fans make between $40-$75k per year.
- At the $100k+ salary range, only NASCAR is lower than the NBA for a total percentage of the viewership demographics.
- At 13%, the NBA is second only to MLS when it comes to attracting younger viewers in the 2-17 age demographic.
- 1 in 4 NBA fans is above the age of 55.
- No single professional sport in the USA has less than a 60/40 male/female split in their audience.
The NBA attracts a younger audience overall, which means there is going to be less money available to marketers who want to target this demographic. Yet with league revenues above $4.5 billion annually and an average franchise value of $634 million within the league, it is easy to see why basketball attracts the demographics that it does. This sport provides the opportunity for many to change their stars. Courts are widely available, free to use, and basketballs are relatively affordable. There is always a chance to find a dream.
These Is No Definition to the “Average” Fan
- 43% of those who follow the NBA regularly spend between 1-9 hours online every week.
- 1 in 3 NBA fans will regularly use the internet to track live scores from their preferred games or favorite teams.
- Over 13% of NBA fans will listen to the radio on a regular basis, including as a method of listening to a live game.
- More than 7% of NBA fans play fantasy sports, which is actually a higher percentage of the fan demographic than the NFL.
- The average NBA fan is 16% more likely to be single than the general population.
- Although Twitter is popular, there is also a 49% greater chance that an NBA fan will also be on Facebook.
Although there isn’t an NBA fan “definition,” there are certain trends that can help the league and business owners market to this demographic. Being online and having materials that are ready to share socially is critically important. Following sports creates a camaraderie that can spread word of mouth marketing quickly. Fans engage in venues and while they’re watching games. Having a brand involved with that process can quickly generate high levels of loyalty.
Why You Need to be Mobile to Reach NBA Fans
- 1 in 3 NBA fans owns at least one smartphone. Another 8-10% plan to purchase a smartphone in the near future.
- This demographic is 40% more likely to use a mobile device to access their social networks.
- NBA fans are more likely to access and download video clips, programs, and movies online than the general population.
- There are more than 450 million total NBA fans and their online quest to access stats and specific data about their favorite teams and players has increased by more than 66% since the 2012-2013 season.
The NBA has 4.5 quadrillion combinations of statistics that can be researched. NBA fans are using that data to enhance their quest for knowledge. Embracing this from a marketing perspective is essential to reach this demographic. With specific data that can be created in such a way that it can be a personalized experience for every visitor, a relationship can be formed passively and that allows for an easier conversion process. In return, interest grows just as it is for the NBA because people have something that is real, tangible, and extremely valuable.