While European stay-at-home viewers consumed more television than ever, the ability to monetize these audiences was impacted without sport, according to Conviva’s latest research, titled “The Return of Sport in the Time of Coronavirus”.
The study indicates that sport streaming surged back in June and Europe provided a beacon for the world with sport leagues like Bundesliga, La Liga, Premier League, and Serie A returning. Weeks without content drove time watching sport programming to historic lows during March and April, but time spent streaming sport finally recovered to pre-Covid levels in June. As the hiatus left viewers particularly ravenous for sport content, and with many people still at home, sport viewing time surged 24% higher at the end of June than the baseline set in the first week of March.
By contrast, time spent streaming entertainment content scaled impressive heights in the midst of shelter-in-place orders, up 65% in early April, and has since decreased with the ascent in sport viewing. This shift indicates how viewers are exchanging entertainment viewing with sports. News consumption also decreased slightly from these soaring heights, up 180% in mid-April, but remains durable with viewing time still double what it was pre-Covid, up 98% at the end of June.
Another game-changer for sport occurred with the restoration to the pre-pandemic share of viewing time in Europe. The streaming share that sport commanded plunged to just 3% compared to entertainment’s 97% at the height of the sport drought. As of June, however, sport has not only returned, it has exceeded the 30% share typical of pre-Covid viewing.
Streaming wasn’t the only medium fans were pining for to fill their sport fix, however, as social media is also a critical channel for the returning teams to connect with their fans. Engagement skyrocketed for these accounts, up 30% across all teams, including the league account, within Bundesliga, La Liga, Premier League, and Serie A in the second half of June as compared to the first half of the month. In the same time period, video views increased by 82%, videos posted increased by 31%, and posts increased by 55% for these accounts.
“If Europe is indicative of what the return of sport will look like worldwide, sport broadcasters should take solace as viewers can’t watch enough. Streaming and social media are both obvious winners in the return of sport, with more heights to reach as leagues around the world schedule returns in the coming months,” the report concludes.