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The third edition of the Global Sports Forum Barcelona will kick off this week, with speakers and participants from all over the world joining to debate key issues in sport. In line with this year’s theme of “Sport: What’s Next?” the Forum presents a new study that analyzes how Europeans intend to consume sport in 2011 and beyond.

The research focusing on the top five European countries for sport (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK), shows clear trends in media consumption from this important group, aged 12 to 35, who will form the key percentage of sports consumers in the next ten years.

Sport has a bright future. Sports fans are unlike any other. The sports marketplace isn’t one for passive consumers that check in from time to time. In fact, it seems as if sports fans simply can’t get enough – they consume frequently and via several media platforms

  • 7 % of Sports consumers consider themselves “fanatics” (i.e. check all five platforms tested daily) and are typically between the ages of 21 and 30 years old.
  • A large majority of those surveyed (72%) have shown they check-up on their teams or favorite events at least once a day.
  • 58% think that their consumption of sport will increase over the next 10 years. Only 6% believe it will decrease.

TV still reigns supreme. Almost 98% of sports fans watch sports content on TV, 57% of them daily. The only other platform that can compete with the fan-penetration of television is the internet, which attracts around 53% of sports fans day-to-day.

  • Overall, all TV platforms, such as 3D and internet TV, are keeping consumers loyal to the medium. Currently just over 58% are using HD TV.
  • Over 65% of sports fans own or have considered owning at 3DTV, and sport is a considerably to very strong motivating factor for 51% of them.

Further evidence of trouble ahead for the newspaper industry – although newspapers and radio come 3rd and 4th as preferred platforms for sports fans, their audience is far from loyal - nearly 70% of these respondents report that they expect to reduce (or at best maintain) these preferences over the next 10 years. This combines with the fact that 99% of sports fans who already use internet and web claim that they will access content via these platforms more frequently over the next 10 years. 70% of fans who feel that they will buy fewer sports newspapers or listen less frequently to sport on the radio show a strong propensity to increase usage to mobile phones or the internet.

Once the TV is turned off, the research showed that the internet takes over, and there are marked differences in viewing preferences across Europe.

  • In France the radio is the second most popular support platform, with 38% of fans listening in when a TV is unavailable.
  • The Spanish prefer newspapers when they don’t have their laptop - nearly 29% of them select this medium as second choice, when TV is unavailable, to keep up to date with sports news and events.
  • UK leads the way with smart phone usage for sports. The large number of younger generation fans in the UK opting for mobile figures are considerably higher than those for Spain, Italy and France.
  • Despite the popularity and increasing service offered by mobile platforms for sports fans, around 50% (in the UK its 42%) never use their phone when trying to keep up with their favorite sport, regardless of the high mobile penetration the UK and Italian markets. Despite these low adoption rates for mobile, of the 50% of those who have never used mobile to watch sports, 57% believe they will do so in the next decade.

Overall, European sport shows signs that it is failing to tap into the potential of social media. Of those surveyed, just fewer than 26% of sports fans use Facebook or Twitter to check their favorite teams or athletes. Only 15% visit their Official Facebook pages while only 14% read blogs and just 9% follow sports or athletes via Twitter. Sports fans who would sign into Facebook and Twitter do so for two principle reasons, to interact with other fans and to access up-to-the-minute news and information.

  • French (38%) and Spanish fans (38%) sign-on to access up-to-the-minute sports news and information.
  • The Germans (34%) and the British (30%) connect principally to interact and discuss with friends.
  • In Italy, sports fans connect for the most part to discuss with other fans (33%).

Focus on London 2012

  • One out of every ten UK sports fans will NOT follow the Olympic Games compared to 94% of Italians who expect to follow the Games.
  • German fans are most likely to watch at public viewing areas or at work. They are also most likely to join the 23% of Spaniards who expect to watch the Games in a bar.
  • Sports fans focused on viewing quality rather than accessibility when asked what would improve their viewing experience - 3DTV (49%) and HD TV (36%) were cited as the technologies which would most improve the viewing experience of the Olympic Games.
  • When sports fans were asked which sports they would most like to watch in 3DTV, Gymnastics got the top slot with swimming, sprint events, diving and field hockey following in the top five.
  • When at home 90% of sports fans will catch the action (or recaps…could include news as well) on TV with over 60% predicting that they will at least occasionally listen to the radio.
  • Many of the markets recorded high numbers of student-aged sports fans who are intending to watch the Games – in the UK this was the highest – 42% of sports fans between the ages of 12 and 35 years old are under the age of 21.
  • As much of the daytime Olympic action will be taking place during the day, of the students across all markets that plan on following the Games, 59% will do so online and 43% on their smart phones whilst at school.

For further information on the study, or interviews, please contact:
Melina Baetti
+33 (0)6 88 67 87 91

About the Study

The “Consumption of Sport in 2011 and Beyond” study was conducted by Havas Sports & Entertainment for the Global Sports Forum Barcelona. It is based on a quantitative survey of over 2,000 Europeans from five markets (UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy) taking place in February 2011.

About the Global Sports Forum Barcelona

With official backing from the City of Barcelona, the Global Sports Forum Barcelona offers a platform for sports personalities from a wide range of backgrounds to meet and exchange ideas. In line with its unique approach which places sport at the core of modern society, the Forum, now in its third edition, has established itself as a discussion and meeting place in which all aspects of sport are examined, whether they be economical, social, political or cultural. The Forum aims to reflect on societal issues within sport today so that better work can be achieved in the future, and to help all forms of sport to move forward.

The Global Sports Forum Barcelona was conceived and is organized by Havas Sports & Entertainment (www.havas-se.com). For more information, please visit www.globalsportsforum.org and follow us on Twitter at @globalsportsfor