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YouGov poll finds that young sports fans around the world prefer highlights to full matches

New study by British market research agency suggests a shift in the viewing habits of younger people

A recent report put out by British international market research and data analytics firm YouGov warns that 34% of sports fans between the age of 18 and 24 prefer watching highlights to entire matches.

The study, titled YouGov's Sports Whitepaper 2023, has found that more than a third of young sports fans would rather watch clips on social media or highlights packages than enjoy full sporting events live in their entirety.

Meanwhile, 30% of 18-24 year olds surveyed prefer watching live sports instead of highlights.

25% said they prefer both options equally.

Preference for highlights over live sports only a trend in younger demographic

According to YouGov's study, 18-24 is the only demographic where this trend exists. All other age groups surveyed said they preferred to watch live matches in full rather than clips and highlights.

Overall, watching sport live on television remains the most common way in which fans follow the sports they love, with 38% of all respondents suggesting that this is how they follow sports.

Social media is the second most popular way to follow and consume sports content, with 14% of those surveyed claiming this to be their go-to method.

This study by YouGov involved the surveying of almost 20,000 adults from 18 countries around the world.

Is live sports on TV soon to be a thing of the past?

This increased trend towards watching highlights on YouTube and clips on social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok reflects an overall societal shift towards the internet and a thirst for on-demand content.

Many sports fans simply no longer have the time to dedicate to watching full sporting events live, especially on TV, when they are often on the go or busy.

Those who do watch live sports are increasingly moving towards live streaming and away from linear television, and even that number is shrinking as fans tend to use clips and highlights to stay up-to-date with their favourite sports, teams and athletes, without dedicating hours to sitting in front of a TV or laptop to watch an entire game.

It's a rather worrying trend for traditional broadcasters, who will likely need to adapt in the near future if they are to continue capitalising on the world's love of sport at the same rate as they have done over recent decades.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was mocked for suggesting that young people don't watch full football matches anymore when he attempted to launch the doomed European Super League.

Looking back, did he maybe have a point? Are the next generation of sports fans lacking the attention span to watch full sporting events live as they did in the past? Only time will tell.

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