As pandemic-related shutdowns have disrupted live sports programming, advertisers and content providers need to understand what sports fans are watching now. In our report “TV and Sports in the Time of Covid,” we share trends across sports networks, fan viewing, and replacement programming during April 2020. Here are a few highlights:
The NFL Draft has evolved into a multi-day extravaganza, and the broadcasts on ABC and ESPN saw dramatic increases in YOY viewership. From-home audience for the first round was up over 40%, and for rounds 2 and 3 over 45%. The live event also proved to be welcome content for regular viewers of other sports, as ~30% each of PGA, MLB, and NBA fans and over 20% of NASCAR fans tuned in to the first round on ABC.
Many baseball fans were looking forward to the broadcast of Korean Baseball Organiation (KBO) games on ESPN to fill in for the delayed MLB season. Adoption has been sluggish, with viewership of April’s preseason games drawing ~25% fewer viewers than MLBTV and RSN replays and less than half of 2019’s typical live MLB game. While the early a.m. time slots and lack of household names provide a challenge, the crazy bat flips and monster home runs associated with Korean baseball are high in entertainment value and will provide an interesting viewership story to follow.
While typically associated with streaming platforms, esports content is now getting a run on broadcast. To help fill the airtime gap caused by the delay of NASCAR races, FOX and FS1 have been showing events from the iRacing Pro Invitational Series, with NASCAR Cup Series drivers taking part in virtual racing events. Early results show audiences hovering ~20% of a typical early-season race broadcast.
Download the full report to learn more about sports audience behavior during the pandemic. You can also view the webinar with Alphonso Chief Product Officer Raghu Kodige for a more in-depth examination. Alphonso’s network of smart TV providers and connected devices covers over 15 million US households. To learn more about how Alphonso can deliver the TV and OTT audience insights you need to create more effective campaigns, talk with one of our experts.