One of the things I noticed at this year’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is that teams were not as focused on the issue of losing younger fans. So I decided to see if there’s anything to worry about. While we don’t have data on kids, we do have lots of data on young adults.
I tapped into our 2012 and 2016 consumer benchmark studies to examine the percentage of of 18- to 24-year-olds who enjoy watching sports on TV. It turns out that:
- The top 3 major league sports across all U.S. adults this year is football/NFL (56%), baseball/MLB (35%), and basketball/NBA (33%). For young adults, the top three are the NFL (46%), the NBA (38%), and soccer/MLS (23%).
- Over the past four years, young adults have lost some interest in five of the eight sports we examine.
- MLB has dropped the most (down 3.4 %-points) followed by NASCAR (down 2.6 %-points).
- MLS has increased the most (up 7.1 points) followed by the NBA (up 2.5 points).