WE ARE WRONG ABOUT MILLENNIAL SPORTS FANS
Millennials enjoy sports just as much as members of other generations. It’s the way they consume sports that matters. In a world with so many sports options across so many screens, sports fans of all ages are clicking away from unexciting, low-stakes or lopsided games. In addition, Brian Hughes of Magna Global says that the increased need for instant gratification and entertainment, like immediate stats and quick highlights, has funneled some young viewers away from TV.
However, as sports executives seek to build new direct-to-consumer channels, McKinsey says that age is an ineffective way to segment and target digital sports fans. Older generations, such as Gen X, are adopting digital technology almost as fast as millennials, and fans’ online behaviors are far better signs of intent. As the use of technology is similar for both generations, there is a difference in the viewing patterns. Millennials appear to stream sports more often and are considered as social fans by following sports through social channels, such Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.
The problem of declining attention spans will not be solved merely by replacing TV for PCs and mobile devices. As sports marketers develop new digital products, e.g. services for live-streamed events, highlights and analysis, they must design for new, digital behaviors that cut across generations. People are still consuming sports voraciously, but only at the expense of traditional TV viewing. Instead of focusing on the age group, the task is to identify the right digital behaviors and develop digital products that satisfy those. If successfully implemented, those have the potential to build stronger fan bases than ever before.