True sports fans cheering from the couch

April 17, 2013
Chicago (April 17, 2013) — With NBA play-offs just days away, hardcore basketball fans the world over are scrambling to get tickets to root for their favorite team. However, recent Mintel research reveals that most sports-lovers prefer to cheer their squad of choice on from the comfort of their couches. Indeed, 70% of those surveyed believe that a sports fan has to watch professional sporting events on TV, compared to just 41% who believe the same about attending sporting events in person.
“While the most enthusiastic sports fans continue to prioritize in-person viewing, most respondents are more reliant on watching sports on TV—and finding social opportunities to engage in sports that may occur outside of the stadium,” notes Gretchen Grabowski, travel and leisure analyst at Mintel. “While most say they prefer to tune in to sports from home, they also prefer to do so with others as opposed to alone.”
Some 70% of sports fans prefer to watch or listen to games at home, compared to 26% who fancy doing so in person. Meanwhile, 66% of sports lovers would rather take in the game with others, versus 25% who like to watch or listen alone.
“Sports fans can make a social event out of tuning in to their leagues and teams of choice even when financial or other constraints dictate that out-of-home viewing isn’t an option,” adds Gretchen Grabowski. “Marketers that acknowledge that in-home sports viewing may be the best—or only—venue for most fans and do more to make the activity fun are likely to make professional sports accessible to the most sports enthusiasts.”
Mintel research also found that sports fans think of the games as a bonding opportunity. Fifty-seven percent of fans say following sports is a good way to follow family tradition, while 72% believe wearing sports clothing and apparel makes them feel more spirited when watching a game. Additionally, 38% agree that the teams sports fans follow say a lot about who they are as a person.
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