Featured image: Sports Fandom is Changing – Your Sports Sponsorships Should Too

Sports Fandom is Changing – Your Sports Sponsorships Should Too

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Global sports participation and viewership have exploded in recent years.

The professional sports industry is a multi-billion dollar business that continues to grow year after year. Fans are eager and committed to watch their favorite teams and players compete – and the monthly live sports audience in the United States is predicted to rise to over 90 million in the next year.

But, the way fans engage with sports content is evolving. More sports are hitting the market (looking at you, pickleball), and more leagues are reaching broadcast deals with streaming and television networks. There are new and lifelong sports fans everywhere, and these fans are spending more time than ever with a variety of sports. Leagues no longer need to be part of the ‘Big 4’ to present value and sponsorship opportunities.


Our suggestion to brands: Understand the landscape and get in on the ground floor with leagues outside of the ‘Big 4.’


Fandom is growing in unexpected ways.

The fragmentation of sports media and variety of new sports in the mix has not caused consumers’ fandom to decrease.According to a sports fandom insight study by Deloitte, sports fans under 40 years old are just as engaged as those over 40-years-old. 72% of Gen-Z fans rate their fandom for sports at a 7, and 82% of Millennials rate their fandom at 7 or above.

Sports media is more fragmented and more accessible than ever.

With the rise of digital and social media platforms (In 2021, more than 57 million viewers watched digital live sports shows at least once per month), sports events are now more accessible to a greater audience. People can watch games and matches from around the world, which has contributed to growth in viewership. The introduction of new sports and formats, such as eSports and adventure sports (skateboarding and mountain climbing in the Olympics), has attracted a new demographic of participants and viewers.

According to DemandSage, eSports has a global audience that rockets to over 540 Million, with over 40% coming from China and the Philippines.

Sports leagues and events have become increasingly global in nature and this globalization has led to a more diverse and widespread interest in sports. The widening landscape of new sports, alternative leagues, and even youth and amateur sports, present promising opportunities for sponsorship.

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