11 JUN 2021

RUSSIAN SPORTS FANS: HOW GENDER IMPACTS DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY

Looking at fan interest by gender, sports such as soccer and ice hockey skew heavily towards male sports fans who are much more likely than female fans to enjoy watching them, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.

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Nearly half of internet users in Russia enjoy watching sport on TV or online, which is in line with the European average. But looking at fan interest by gender, sports such as soccer and ice hockey skew heavily towards male sports fans who are much more likely than female fans to enjoy watching them, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.

On the other hand, sports such as the Olympics, winter sports and Athletics are more popular with female Russian sports fans. In fact, compared to other European markets, female fans in Russia have the strongest interest in the Olympics and winter sports except for Norway and Finland.

Currently female sports fans in Russia are catered for via free-to-air channels such as Russia 1 and Channel One, who hold the rights to the Olympics and several winter sports events. However, the sports which resonate the most with male fans, such as soccer, ice-hockey and martial arts/boxing, tend to be found on pay TV channels such as Match! TV. The level of access via free TV has a considerable impact on willingness to pay: 67% of male fans are willing to pay to watch sport on TV or online, compared to just 54% of female fans.

“This has a twofold impact, one for broadcasters and one for rights holders. Pay TV broadcasters’ focus should remain on sports which have a male skew, as these fans are the most willing to pay. One recent example was Rostelecom’s carriage deal with UFC TV in 2019 to broaden its sport offering. For rights holders whose sports have a strong female skew, the distribution partner should be a free-to-air channel to maximise accessibility among a fanbase with a lower willingness to pay,”  commented Minal Modha, Principal Analyst - Consumer Research Lead at Ampere Analysis, and the author of the report.