Poll: Despite mobile options and cord-cutting, sports fans still turn on the TV

sport team
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Despite the growth of mobile technology and viewing options, when sports fans want to watch a game, they turn to traditional live TV, according to results of a UMass Lowell-Washington Post poll released today.

Eighty-six percent of said they watched games or highlights on TV in the last 12 months, including 88 percent of 18- to 39-year-olds. That age group includes millennials (those from 18 to 34), who are the least likely to watch traditional live TV and are leading the way in "cutting the cord" on cable television, according to other published research.

The UMass Lowell-Washington Post poll found that young sports fans are more likely to use to expand how they are able to access sports. Thirty-five percent of all sports fans watched games or game highlights on their cellphones in the last year and 51 percent of all fans checked scores online using a computer or smartphone. Among sports fans younger than 40, the use of mobile and Internet technology to watch games or highlights increased to 55 percent and 67 percent checked using a computer or cellphone.

"The survey findings suggest that young people are not turning away from watching sports on live television or attending live events. Rather, they are using technology to diversify how they watch and get information about sports," said Prof. Joshua Dyck, co-director of the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, which partnered with The Washington Post on the national poll.

Sports fans are deeply committed to and personally invested in watching their games of choice, the found. Nineteen percent of fans said they find themselves yelling at the TV "all the time" when watching their favorite sport or team. Another 16 percent said they exhibit similar behavior most of the time, 25 percent said sometimes, 21 percent said they hardly ever yell at the TV and 19 said they never do. Women sports fans, 23 percent, were more likely to say they yell at the TV all the time while watching sports compared to 15 percent of men who admitted to doing so.

Other findings from the poll include:

  • 85 percent of sports fans ages 40 to 64 and 84 percent of those 65 and older said they have watched games or highlights on live TV in the past year.
  • Among those ages 18 to 39, 51 percent attended a live sporting event compared to 45 percent of those ages 40 to 64 and 22 percent of those 65 and over.
  • The survey also found a generation gap among sports fans who follow athletes on social media: 44 percent of those younger than 40 reported they use Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to follow athletes compared to 23 percent of those ages 40 to 64 and just 7 percent of those 65 and older.

Explore further

Poll: Majority of Americans support legalization of sports betting

Citation: Poll: Despite mobile options and cord-cutting, sports fans still turn on the TV (2017, October 18) retrieved 25 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-10-poll-mobile-options-cord-cutting-sports.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
3 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Oct 18, 2017
Television is still more reliable compared to internet streaming, which tends to get quality issues and glitches all the time, especially on mobile. The streams are also buffered to the point that you can watch the same game minutes earlier on the TV, which gives you the interesting effect of hearing your neighbor yell "goooaaal!" before you see it on your screen.

Oct 18, 2017
The simple question is, would you rather watch it in high definition in real time, or in low definition after the fact, or just discuss it when you never saw it?

Is discussing it more important than seeing it for you? I make no value judgments but c'mon man, actually seeing it in real time has to be judged by purists to be superior.

Oct 19, 2017
in high definition in real time


Digital television is no longer "real time". There's buffering going on at all stages from camera management to encoding and transmission.

In the old analog days you could call the studio of a game show and actually play a little video game on the screen by pressing DTMF tones on your desk phone, because the broadcast was actually live with milliseconds of delay between the camera image and broadcast network. Nowadays the video codec buffers for a couple seconds to efficiently encode the stream, and the network has a minute of buffer delay anyways.

I remember many months before the switchover, when analog TV went weirdly fuzzy during a morning newscast. Turns out they had switched the transmission such that instead of converting the analog picture directly from the digital source, they converted the digital broadcast signal to analog and re-transmitted it at a loss of quality. Just to make it seem the analog picture was worse.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more