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UK – Sponsor analytics and fan intelligence specialist Nielsen Sports’ 2022 Marketing Report found that 40.7% of global fans now stream live sports via digital platforms.

This, in turn, has led to an increase in over-the-top (OTT) media rights, which includes a 19% jump for Europe’s top football leagues over the past two years at local level, plus an increase of 31% predicted for ATP Tour men’s tennis by 2023. The study, titled Fans change the game, describes how Nielsen predicts fandom in 2022 will impact sports sponsorship models, content distribution, the rise of crypto, esports, and women’s sports.

Demand for content overall remains high with non-event releases, such as highlights and recap videos, almost as high as the event itself. Nielsen estimates that 39.4% of global fans will watch non-live content related to a live sporting event. Sports viewing has become a multi-screen experience, with 47% of people watching sports interacting with other live content simultaneously, up 5% from last year.

In women’s sports, Nielsen estimates there was a 146% year-on-year increase in unbundled sponsorship investments (UEFA, FIFA, World Rugby) compared to a 27% increase in 2020 With more women’s sports on TV, there are now more sponsorship opportunities, which means many brands are now able to engage with consumers who weren’t previously reached by sponsorships in men’s sports. .

Other results include the fact that sports sponsorships increased by 107% in 2021; Through an analysis of 100 referrals across seven markets across 20 industries, Nielsen found that referrals lead to an average 10% increase in purchase intent among the fanbase. Overall, Nielsen’s 2021 Advertising Trust Study showed that 81% of respondents around the world completely or somewhat trust brand sponsorships at sporting events.

Athletes showed a higher potential to connect with fans, with 26% of passionate sports fans who use social media for sports news saying athletes are a great way to connect with brands and sponsors.

There were 2,254 publicly announced esports sponsorship deals globally in 2021, up from 1,785 in 2020, making it one of the fastest growing segments of the global entertainment industry. Over the past year, the female esports fanbase has grown by 19%, while the male fanbase has grown by 12%.

Marco Nazzari, Global Managing Director of Nielsen Sports, said: “Based on our work as a data-driven company and interviewing thousands of fans, it’s clear that sports fans are demanding new types of content. driven by innovative distribution platforms. This, in turn, impacts how rightsholders and brands should approach audience engagement and sponsorship results.

“With the growing sophistication of sponsorship, measuring effectiveness at every stage is now expected by brands. Predicting return on investment and increased sales will be key for sports rights holders to stay relevant and secure budgets. marketing brands in the future.”

He continued, “As the traditional and digital worlds merge, the sponsorship lifecycle is now expanding, creating additional and more comprehensive monetization opportunities. It will become vital for brands to take advantage of new technologies and use digital platforms to develop fan engagement strategies that previously did not exist in linear broadcasting. The fan is now the catalyst for huge changes.