Our Attention Span & The Sports Distribution Model
The traditional sports distribution model that is built on live games, is experiencing a slow death.
Cable cutting is commonly pointed at as a reason for this indicator but the problem is much deeper than that. The next generation of fans, which happen to be the ones leading the cord cutting phenomenon are simply not interested in sports like the generations in the past.
According to a recent study by Morning Consult, titled “The Sports Industry’s Gen Z Problem”, almost 50% of Gen Z respondents (Age 13-23) said they don’t even consider themselves sports fans. This is extremely concerning when you look at it from a macro perspective.
There is a fundamental shift in the younger generation in which sports they favour but also that which make them a live event.
35% of Gen Z fans stated they were avid or casual fans of Esports. This option ranked more popular than College Basketball, Major League Baseball, UFC, Nascar, and the NHL.
When you observe it from a general point of view, you will see the disconnect as Esports is all the way down at only 19% behind UFC, Nascar, NHL, and the WNBA.
Why is there a drop off in generational fandom when it comes to Esports?
There appears to be a structural difference in how fans of different age groups choose what sports to watch.
Gen Z is more emotionally connected to the athlete because of their personality. As we continue to move through an era which encourages content creation through social platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, this trend has expedited this process.
Prior generations in the 30-35 grew up under different circumstances. They picked sports leagues, and fell in love with specific teams based on different factors.
For example; take two Boston Celtics fans - they are likely fans because they have a connection to Boston, they grew up watching the games when the Celtics dominated the NBA in the early 70s, and they have continued that support through their life. The younger ones? They might just simply like Steph Curry because of his flair on the court and marksmanship when he shoots.
What does this all mean for sports? Younger generations aren’t watching sports.
The growth of the internet, and social media platforms specifically, have destroyed the attention span of young adults. Instead of watching a live sporting event, the younger fans have fed their attention span with shorter highlight moments through their phones or popular platforms such as House of Highlights Overtime, and The Score.
Innovative companies such as Buzzer are developing the generation Z of consuming live events. They sit in between traditional live viewing and quick hitting concepts of highlights.
If you’re a young fan and always on the go, Buzzer will notify you based on personalized notifications towards your favourite teams. They will notify you during important moments of a game so you can see the theatrics as things play down in the clutch moments of the game.
Buzzer plans on doing this by allowing you to authenticate through an existing subscription model (cable, ESPN+, YouTubeTV, etc.), or agree to a micropayment, starting at $0.99, to watch exactly what you want to watch.
They are bridging the gap for fans who don’t want to sit through an entire game with a fast lane to access the thrilling moments in sports.
Buzzer sounds like a great innovative platform that can become a game changer. Time will tell if this strategy is going to be a hit or miss with generation Z.
Takeaway: The evolution of the smartphone has allowed people to live in a world where they have control at anytime. There is a power shit moving towards the consumer being the one in command for all the products they consume. Companies are now evolving on how they can personalize their products to each customer to keep their attention. The one size fits all is gone now. Each day is a new day for companies to reinvent their services and products to fit the evolving consumer.