From awareness to downloads – Decoding the sports app behavior of American fans
October 4th, 2023, Kineree Shah

From awareness to downloads – Decoding the sports app behavior of American fans

Sports apps have become a popular medium of keeping up with the action in the US – a third of sports fans in the country say they have downloaded sports apps (33%), according to YouGov Profiles data. In this piece we look into the awareness and preferences with respect to various major sports apps among American sports fans. The findings not only reflect the extent of app familiarity but also the interest, or lack thereof, in downloading them.

Awareness of sports apps

Half of all sports fans are acquainted with the NFL and NBA apps, indicating their towering status in the digital sports arena (both at 51%). Following closely, ESPN and MLB capture the attention of over two-fifth of sports enthusiasts (45% and 41% respectively). Further down, CBS Sports, NHL, and Yahoo Sports are on the radar of approximately three-tenths of fans (30%, 28%, and 27% respectively).

Approximately one-fifth of the fans recognize apps such as Bleacher Report (22%), Premier League (21%), and MLS (20%). Interestingly, only 17% are aware of team-specific apps, suggesting a fragmented awareness dependent on personal team preferences.

Download preferences among sports fans

When we compare app awareness metrics against actual download percentages, the NBA leads the brigade with over one-fifth (21%) of sports fans having the app currently installed on their devices. This aligns with the previously noted 51% awareness of the NBA app among sports enthusiasts. ESPN and NFL, holding significant awareness levels of 45% and 51% respectively, see their apps already on 19% and 18% of fan devices.

Intriguingly, the MLB app, despite a substantial 41% awareness level, only graces the cell screens of 13% of sports fans. On a similar note, apps like the NHL, Premier League, and Yahoo Sports — all commanding considerable awareness — find themselves installed on a mere 8% of devices.

But the story doesn't end there. A separate set of sports fans, although currently without certain apps, are showing a keen interest in downloading them. The NFL app, for instance, piques the interest of another 11% of sports fans, indicating a possibility to grow the app install base quite substantially. Similarly, a tenth of the fans may well consider downloading the NBA and MLB apps in the future.

However, even as these apps allure certain segments of the audience, there remains a considerable group that seems uninterested. Almost one-fifth (18%) of sports fans, while aware of the NFL app, have decided against downloading it. 

Perhaps the most distinct data point in the mix is for the team-specific apps. Despite a 17% awareness figure, only 7% have taken the step to download them, while a mere 4% more express interest.

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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 the US is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.