September 9, 2010: Consider this another punch to the gut for newspapers, albeit from a source that may be slightly biased in its findings. According to Burst Media, a leading provider of advertising representation, services and technology to independent Web publishers, nearly two-thirds of respondents to a poll cite the Internet (31.5%) and national TV programming (30.4%) as the best resource for sports-related news and information, surpassing other forms of mass media. And national TV programming and the Internet are also most often cited by sports fans as their primary source of sports news and information, 30.8% and 25.7%, respectively .
In addition, the study found that sports fans consistently go to the Internet for a variety of information on a regular basis: to check scores and stats (59.2%), read sports-related news stories and commentary (47.4%), and watch sports-related videos and clips (35.6%).
The just-released study from Burst Media is based on a online poll of more than 2,700 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older who self-identified themselves as sports fans. Among the 2,700 sports fans polled, 32.1% identified themselves as “avid” fans who “try to stay updated as much as possible” on sports scores and news, and 67.9% said they were “casual" fans who say they “follow sports from time to time.”
While the study offers a perspective of how important the Web has become to sports fans, it could also aid companies when determining how and where to spend their marketing dollars. According to Burst Media, in terms of marketing and advertising, athlete or team product or service endorsements impact sports-minded consumers’ considerations: 29.7% of all respondents say they are likely to purchase a product or service if it is used by their favorite sports team or athlete.
"Sports fans consistently go to the Internet for a variety of information on a regular basis: scores, stats, commentary and sports-related videos and clips."
In addition, social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter are poised to help brands be more effective with endorsement programs, according to Burst Media. Overall, one-quarter (24.7%) of sports fans currently or have at one time or another followed their favorite athletes in social media. Among 18-24 year-old sports fans, 36.5% turn to social media. Drilling down a bit deeper, 33% of 25-34 year-olds follow their favorite sports stars as do 27.4% of 35-44 year-olds.
“Brands of all kinds have a significant opportunity to reach and engage a loyal and savvy audience in online sports content,” Mark Kaefer, director of marketing at Burst Media, Burlington, Mass. "By rounding out broadcast and print media campaigns with an online component, advertisers can reach a targeted audience of educated and affluent consumers.”
Among other information provided by the Burst Media study:
• Male sports fans (32.1%) are significantly more likely than female sports fans (16.4%) to cite Internet content as their primary sports information source. Concurrently, national TV sports programming rules with female sports fans, with 34.8% citing it as their primary sports information source.
• A plurality (31.3%) of respondents cites between 5 PM. and 8 PM as the time when they are most likely to visit sports-related sites and resources on the Internet.
• Among the 2,700 fans polled for the study, 67.9% were between the ages of 25-54, 46.3% were 35-54 years old. More than half (55.1%) graduated from college and 27.3% reported a household income of $75,000 or more.