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The Year in Sports: Digital Steps Up to the Plate
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The Year in Sports: Digital Steps Up to the Plate

Media content is no longer synonymous with TV. With the rise of technology, consumers can connect with media across a variety of devices, anytime, anywhere—at work, during a daily commute, or during outdoor activities—with just a few screen taps. Never before has it been so easy to tune in in so many different ways.

And sports fans, hungry for new content, have wholly embraced this newfound on-the-go convenience. And as rabid consumers of content, this group leverages the array of options to continue increasing the amount of time they spend with sports content year-over-year.

In fact, according to Nielsen’s 2014 Year in Sports Report, more than 70 million people consumed sports on either their smartphones or computer in the third quarter of 2014. And of that group, the top 20%—10 million on phones, 15 million online—consumed 85% of the total sports minutes viewed in that quarter. Fans insatiable appetite for sports spans all forms of media, including radio. Sports radio attracts 23 million weekly listeners, who tune in for an average of four hours a week!

The on-the-go convenience of smartphones in particular is a perfect fit for the dynamic, fast-paced world of sports. A collective 72.3 million Americans consumed a staggering 7.1 billion minutes of sports content on their smartphone in October 2014 with 79 million online users consuming over 8.7 billion minutes of content. From October 2012 to 2014, the average user increased their monthly smartphone time spent by 35%.

Fantasy Sports Broaden the Playing Field

Although traditional fantasy leagues are as popular as ever, daily fantasy sports sites are driving additional growth in the arena. The sites have quickly gained in popularity by allowing consumers to play and win real money on fantasy matchups without committing to a full season of play. Between upstarts DraftKings and FanDuel, the number of unique users between September 2013 and September 2014 shot up by over 800% on mobile alone!

“While the Super Bowl has traditionally been a ‘gather around the TV‘ event, the growth and proliferation of mobile devices has added another dimension to viewing and has provided additional opportunities for the fan to interact with the game,” said Stephen Master, senior vice president, Sports, Nielsen. “Sports wagering websites are no exception. They provide marketers additional opportunities to advertise and engage with a wider audience.”

Daily fantasy sports games barely existed one year ago. Now, they comprise a rapidly growing industry fueled by people’s love of the NFL and fantasy football—and facilitated by the proliferation of mobile devices. To better understand the ramp up, Nielsen looked specifically at the audience growth of FanDuel, a company that has been aggressively marketing itself through television and radio advertisements. By September 2014, as the NFL season began, FanDuel’s audience had rocketed to 2.4 million unique users. As of September 2014, FanDuel users were primarily male, comprising about 88% of the unique audience. It is also primarily a non-Hispanic audience, 1%.

For more information about sports consumers and the biggest moments in sports in 2014, download Nielsen’s 2014 Year in Sports Media Report.