While TV broadcasters, sponsors and advertisers are paying big money to be associated with sporting events, Millennial viewers are declining markedly
When it comes to the viewing of major sports events on television, broadcasters and sponsors may be facing an uphill battle to attract young Millennial viewers (those aged around 18-34), who are increasingly either not watching at all, or preferring social media- or Web-based viewing.
This means traditional TV broadcasters and their high-spending sponsors and advertisers are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve the critical mass of viewers they require in order justify the high costs involved.
Writing for the upcoming issue of the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’ (due to be published in mid-October), regular columnist Professor Michael Goldman says figures released by US broadcaster NBC – which paid US$1,2-billion for Rio Olympics broadcast rights – show that its viewership declined by 16% (5,1-million people) versus the Olympic Games held in London in 2012.
The biggest factor was the loss of Millennial viewers, who dropped by a massive 31%. This pushed the median age for Rio 2016 viewers to 52,4 years – up from age 49,5 years for London.
Some of these ‘missing Millennials’ migrated to NBC’s Internet-based Rio coverage, which attracted 50-million viewers, a more than 100% increase on the London games. But many of the 18-34 age group were missing altogether.
“These results confirmed a concern NBC had expressed previously – that Millennials would be in a social media ‘bubble’ and wouldn’t even know the Olympics was coming,” writes Goldman, a South African academic now lecturing in sport marketing at the University of San Francisco in the US.
According to Goldman, this trend raises further questions about changing media technology and the way people now watch coverage of major sporting events.