How do British and American World Cup fans prefer watching sports?
November 28th, 2022, Rishad Dsouza

How do British and American World Cup fans prefer watching sports?

Over a week into the World Cup, we dive into YouGov Profiles data to explore the preferred mediums of sports consumption among fans of the World Cup in the US and Britain.

This piece is part of our ongoing coverage of the World Cup, which examines everything from the traction that sponsors are gaining in the US and the UK, through to the popularity of the World Cup among audiences belonging to different income groups.

Looking at the media that World Cup fans in Britain prefer to use for sports consumption, we find that live television viewing retains unquestionable primacy (69%). Five in nine British World Cup fans also watch sports highlights or repeat telecasts on TV (55%).

A third of them also take the online route for sports following in the form of live streams (31%) and highlights or other content (32%), and social media is an equally big draw (30%). The growing popularity of the online streaming medium is reflected in the record-breaking numbers achieved during England’s World Cup opener against Iran. Traditional outlets like newspaper (27%) and radio (25%) command patronage from one in four World Cup followers, the same as the share of those who follow on mobile apps (25%).

Somewhat expectedly, there are vast differences in preferences by age group. Where four-fifths of World Cup fans aged over 51 watch sports on live television, the share dips to only half of the 18-29 group (49%). The oldest age group are four times likelier than 18-29 aged World Cup fans to catch up on sports through a newspaper (40% vs 11%). Conversely, the younger folk over-index significantly in social media and online channels of sports consumption.

Sports media consumption among American World Cup fans

Live television for sports consumption is king even among US World Cup fans (60%), but its dominance is less pronounced. Two-fifths of US World Cup fans (43%) also take to social media for their sports updates, giving it the second spot as a medium of sports consumption.

A third say they watch highlights or repeat telecasts on TV (33%), and a similar proportion get their sports fix from online live streams (31%). A quarter of them keep up with sports on mobile apps (25%), online highlights (26%) and radio (23%).

A fifth of consumers read up on sports in the newspaper (19%), while magazines (16%) are almost four times as popular a medium among American World Cup fans than their British counterparts.

This data was covered alongside a range of other topics pertaining to US consumers and the World Cup in our sector trend report.

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Looking at sports media consumption data by income category reveals some key variances.

For instance, marketers are a lot likelier to find middle-income American World Cup fans looking for their sport fix on social media (50%), compared to those from lower income (40%) or higher income (33%) groups.

On the other hand, higher income Americans over-index when it comes to consuming sport in magazines (21%) or via highlights and other content online (31%).

These types of data patterns can help marketers direct their campaigns to specific audience groups more efficiently.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for US and Britain market is weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.