Who's watching sports via mobile apps?

YouGov
March 30, 2021, 7:16 PM UTC

Sports fans are untethered from living room televisions and opting to watch sports on their mobile devices. International data from YouGov shows where sports streaming via mobile apps is common practice, and where there is opportunity for growth. 

Notably, a large proportion of sports consumers in the Asia Pacific region use mobile apps as a means to watch or follow sports, our data shows. Use is particularly high in Vietnam, here nearly half (48%) of sports fans watch their sports on the small screen. Data also shows minor variation among age groups. 

India also has a substantial proportion of fans who watch sports via mobile apps. In that market, dozens of service providers are battling global players for the attention of consumers. Further, data rates in India are some of the lowest in the world, contributing to the explosion of mobile streaming use. 

Widening availability of 5G will no doubt spur an increase in streaming among mobile users in the coming years, and cellular service providers around the world can target coverage packages and incentives to consumers who are keen to watch sports on the go. 

While there is significant uptake in mobile app use to watch sports in the Asia Pacific region, YouGov data shows use in the United States is low at just 13%. Younger American fans, between 18-29 years old, are more likely to be mobile sports watchers (19%). Change, however, could be imminent in the US. The National Football League has finalized an 11-year media-rights deal that would see Amazon Prime carry Thursday Night Football live. This deal marks the first time a streaming service will carry a full package of games exclusively, and it’s a deal that will no doubt spur live-sport streaming in the US. 

Similar figures emerge in the United Kingdom, with just 12% of sports consumers reporting using mobile apps to watch sports, as well as similar demographics patterns. Younger Brits, 18-34, are more likely to tap on an app to watch a match (16%). 

A further migration to the next generation of mobile devices coupled with high-speed, low latency 5G is likely to reveal a plethora of value-added propositions for the end-user. Replays, custom camera angles, virtual reality, even live betting, are just some of the opportunities presented. This new era of sports consumption may spur higher smartphone and data use and provide telecom companies a lucrative chance to recoup the heavy investment in the next-gen network.  

Methodology: Interviews conducted January 1 and 31, 2021. Sample sizes were between 295 and 11,074. The Global Fan Profiles tool is available in the following 38 markets: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, UAE, USA, and Vietnam. All data is nationally representative except for data from Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. Data from these markets are representative of the urban population.