Sports Viewership: Streaming v. Cable

The loss of live sports has led consumers to sign up for new streaming services while also accelerating the transition away from traditional cable TV bundles. Fluent is uniquely positioned to ask consumers, especially sports fanatics, about sports and entertainment consumption during this time of change and in a post-COVID-19 world. As the evolving media landscape continues to threaten the future of linear TV advertising, these insights can help marketers and media owners navigate the shift to OTT content consumption and advanced TV ad targeting.  

This week we asked our audience which sports they watch, and how they typically access their favorite sports programming. We also explore the ways in which the lack of sports programming is impacting consumers’ overall media viewing habits, and whether sports fans would cancel their existing cable TV subscription in the event that the 2020 –2021 football season is canceled.

August 25, 2020

What sports do you typically watch?

Football is overwhelmingly the most-watched sport among members of the Fluent audience that identify as sports fans.

A circle graph of the sports respondants typically watch

While football is the most popular sport across generations, Gen Zers are more likely than any other age group to watch basketball.

A bar graph breaking down the sports typically watched by each generation

How do you typically watch sports?

39% of fans are watching sports content via streaming services, with YouTube TV leading the way (16%). For the purpose of this survey, the "none of these" option includes alternatives like watching a game in person or at a sports bar.

A circle graph showing how people typically watch sports

Compared to other generations, Gen Zers are most likely to stream sports content.

A bar graph compairng how each generation typically watches sports

Are you more likely to buy a cable or streaming subscription if you cannot watch games in person or at a sports bar?

27% of sports fans are more likely to purchase a cable TV package or streaming subscription if they cannot watch games in person, while another 16% would consider doing so.

A circle graph showing if respondents would purchase a cable or streaming subscription if they couldn't watch sports at a bar.

Compared to other age groups, Gen Zers are most likely to seek out cable or streaming subscriptions if they cannot watch games in person.

A bar graph compaing if each generation would consider purchasing a cable or streaming subscription if they couldn't watch sports in a bar.

How does the current lack of sports content impact your media viewing habits?

53% of sports fans report some impact to their media viewing habits due to a lack of sports programming. 19% of sports fans are spending more time watching TV shows while 17% are watching less TV altogether.

A circle graph comparing how media viewing habits have changed with the lack of sports

Gender Divides

Male sports fans are feeling the greatest impact and ultimately spending less time watching TV due to the lack of sports programming.

An infograph comparing how the lack of sports impacts the media habits of men and women

Generational Divides

Gen Zers report the greatest impact and are turning their attention to other TV shows (21%) and social media (15%) as a substitute. Gen Xers report the least impact (52%), followed by baby boomers (50%) and millennials (47%).

A bar graph comparing how the lack of sports impacts peoples media viewing by generation.

If the football season is canceled, will you cancel your cable TV package?

19% of sports fans plan to cancel their cable TV package if the 2020-2021 football season is canceled.

19% of sports fans would cancel their cable TV if the football season is cancelled

Gender Divides

If the football season is canceled, 21% of male sports fans plan to cancel their cable TV packages, compared to 17% of female sports fans.

If the football season is cancelled 17% of women would cancel their cable TV vs 21% of men

Generational Divides

Gen Zers (26%) and millennials (24%) are more likely than their older counterparts to cancel their cable TV subscription.

A bar graph comparing if respondents would cancel their cable TV if football is cancelled by generation

See what other insights we've gathered to date

TikTok & Consumer Privacy Concerns

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How is this data collected?

‘Fluent Pulse’ reflects a daily online survey collected across Fluent’s portfolio of owned & operated websites.

Who is the audience?

Fluent attracts a massive audience across its network of owned media properties. While all segments of the US population are represented, the below are our most prevalent demographic skews:

Demographic Attribute Over Penetrated Among
Age Median: 38

61% between the age of 18 & 44

Gender 50/50 Male/Female
Education High School Degree or Some College
Homeownership 61% Renters
Households with Children 42% of Audience

How many people were surveyed?

On average, 150,000 – 175,000 consumers respond daily.

Is the data weighted?

No, but representative of the overall Fluent Audience.

How do you protect consumers data privacy?

All responses related to this survey are anonymized; only survey responses will be disclosed. At no point will consumer’s personal information will ever be disclosed.

What was your methodology?

Data has been collected from U.S. adults on a daily or weekly basis, dependent upon topic, since March 10, 2020. All data is sourced from Fluent’s portfolio of owned and operated media properties. Results are specific to the Fluent audience and not reflective of the general U.S. population.

The data presented on this site does not reflect the official opinion, policy or position of Fluent, Inc. This research is only meant to inform and illustrate, as an example, the rich data assets Fluent can derive insights from to drive in-market strategies.