Navigating the New Playing Field: Live Sports and Audience Fragmentation

May 23, 2024

By Steven DeMain, EVP of Sales, Locality

In the ever-evolving landscape of sports consumption and media distribution, the dynamics between local television viewership, streaming platforms, and audience fragmentation have become increasingly complex. With the rise of streaming services and the re-aggregation of live sports media, understanding these relationships is crucial for both sports fans and brands seeking to engage with their target audiences. Here, we dive into the multifaceted interplay between sports, local TV viewership, streaming platforms, and how Locality emerges as a pivotal player in this ecosystem.

Evolution of Live Sports Viewing Habits

Live sports viewing is shifting rapidly. Today, audiences are tuning in on both streaming and traditional TV. Local TV has long been the go-to for fans to watch their favorite teams and pivotal games, but streaming services are changing how we watch sports. eMarketer reports that 105 million Americans now watch live sports on digital platforms each month, a 10% increase from last year. By 2027, 77% of live sports viewers will access content online, up from 45% in 2021.

The Re-Aggregation of Live Sports Media on Streaming Platforms

Sports fans that shift to streaming do so for convenience and personalization. Local TV networks still command audience market share and are reliable in their coverage, plus audiences inherently know where to tune in. In a recent article from TheWrap (Yahoo! Finance), Jamie Lumley, senior analyst at investment firm, Third Bridge, states, “Sports are one of the last types of event-driven, must-watch TV and they’re definitely really desirable and command those audiences consistently, which is increasingly challenging in a fractured media landscape.” Streaming platforms from companies like Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Disney/ESPN, Warner Bros. Discovery, FOX, NBCU and others have invested heavily in live sports, offering viewers a range of features and access to major events. These platforms provide seamless viewing across devices, enhancing engagement with features like alternate camera angles, real-time stats, and personalized messaging.

Locality Empowers Brands to Engage Live Sports Audiences 

Brands need to adapt to these changes to reach their target audiences effectively. Locality has created a curated live sports marketplace, making buying sports easier in this evolving landscape. We are helping brands engage with live sports audiences in local markets, at scale, across both streaming and broadcast TV. Our marketplace allows buyers to tap into major sporting events, teams, and markets to ensure their clients’ needs are met, with ease. By leveraging data-driven targeting and direct access to premium locally targeted ads, Locality ensures brands can deliver personalized messages to sports fans as they view their favorite teams live across all the major sporting events and leagues – driving higher engagement and conversions.

Locality’s first look, direct access to a unified network of premium streaming services and a collective partnership of 300+ local broadcast stations, allows advertisers to leverage and scale the locally targeted reach and influence of popular sports content.

Navigating the Future of Sports Viewing and Media Distribution

As sports consumption continues to evolve and media distribution undergoes rapid transformation, understanding the relationship between local TV viewership, streaming platforms, and audience fragmentation is essential for brands seeking to connect with their target audiences. The re-aggregation of live sports media on streaming platforms presents new opportunities for brands to engage with local sports fans in innovative ways.

The relationship between sports, local TV viewership, and streaming platforms is undergoing a paradigm shift, presenting both challenges and opportunities for brands. By embracing innovation and leveraging the expertise of local video solution providers like Locality – sourcing both streaming and broadcast advertising, at scale – brands can navigate this new playing field with confidence, ease and effectively engage with live sports audiences in any DMA.

 

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