Millennials and Gen Z in Sport - Thematic Research

Millennials and Gen Z in Sport - Thematic Research


An analysis of how sport is viewed amongst millennials and gen Z, and how the sphere of sports viewership has changed.

Millennials and Gen Z are two different generations that both grew up alongside the technology boom. Millennials are considered to have been born between 1981 and 1996, while Gen Z is considered to be comprised of people born between 1997 to 2010. Both of these demographics are key targets for live sports, and the growing uniqueness of these groups during an age of enormous technological developments has presented unique challenges in getting them interested in sport.

While previous generations were much more interested in physically attending games or watching on traditional cable TV, younger generations are much more inclined to use modern streaming options. Growing up with widely accessible content has made younger people more likely to use these options, and sporting organizations and leagues have had to adjust to this by launching and increasing their own streaming capabilities.

While the way that young viewers watch sport has obviously changed, they also consume news and analysis differently. Many will gravitate towards free sources of content including podcasts, analysis videos on YouTube, and quick highlights for games. Ultimately, younger generations gravitate towards accessible content that can be consumed quickly, and that concisely conveys important information.

Many leaders in the tech space are correctly identifying the popularity of sport, and the business opportunities this can bring them. Given how tech-savvy younger generations are, there is a necessity for these companies to appeal to them, and this will become more apparent and evident as developments occur in spaces such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and the metaverse. While major developments in the metaverse are unlikely to happen in the next couple of years, Gen Z’s innate willingness to spend time with their friends in a virtual world will be crucial once the metaverse comes to fruition.

Key Highlights

  • Newzoo’s Generations report, released in August 2021 had several intriguing insights about millennials and Gen Z concerning gaming habits. According to the research, at least 25% of Gen Z's leisure time is spent on gaming, with both millennials and Gen Z spending significantly more time on the habit than older generations. Additionally, an extraordinary 81% of Gen Z have reported playing games while 70% of millennials have reported the same, while 70% of millennials and 69% of Gen Z had spent money on games in the six months before the study. The average playtime per week for Gen Z is seven hours and 20 minutes, with the average millennial playing time clocking in at 30 minutes fewer than this. Unsurprisingly, there is a significant overlap between people who play and watch games, with 71% of Gen Z doing both, as opposed to 67% of millennials. For younger gamers, content creators within the gaming industry are an ideal to strive towards, with platforms such as YouTube and Twitch allowing gamers to begin building their brands and engaging with audiences from a young age. In addition, 40% of Gen Z and 37% of millennials reported using gaming as a social exercise, with many gamers interested in playing games simply to spend time with their friends.
  • As younger generations become interested in sport, viewing patterns will shift somewhat. Nowadays, many younger viewers are more interested in streaming games online, with many watching multiple games at once. The accessibility with which many can access different events now is in stark contrast to before the turn of the century when some games were not televised at all. Programs like Red Zone for the NFL tap into this idea, as it keeps track of all the Sunday NFL games being played simultaneously. Many younger viewers will create setups at home where they can watch multiple sporting events at once on different screens, partially because younger people are often interested in a greater variety of sports than previous generations.
  • Now, with rights split across so many different channels and platforms, watching sports from home is not as consumer friendly as it used to be, with many fans needing multiple subscriptions to keep up, which is partially what helps make streaming so appealing. Having all a competition or team’s games in one spot makes things significantly easier to keep track of a result. In terms of using streaming platforms, younger people are the primary purveyors of OTT platforms, and according to research, these age groups are more receptive to advertising. AdTech company Freewheel revealed that OTT viewers finished up to 98% of advertisements. This means that OTT platforms provide advertisers with a potentially large audience that is willing to consume advertisements. Potential technological developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence could also help dictate advertising models in the future, as companies look to home in on specific target audiences even more.
  • This report provides breakdowns of how popular sport is amongst millennials and Gen Z.
  • It identifies the key trends that uniquely affecting millennials and Gen Z with regards to sport.
  • A look at how the growing popularity of eSports, particularly amongst younger generations, is vital for sporting organizations to tap into.
  • A detailed look at the millennials/Gen Z value chain, and what generates value for sport amongst these younger generations.
Reasons to Buy
  • For those wanting an in-depth analysis of sports and its intersections with younger generations.
  • Discusses how the nature of viewing sports has changed with the boom of technology and the Internet, as well as a look at how streaming platforms and social media have capitalized to become an essential part of life for younger generations.
  • GlobalData’s thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors. It has a proven track record of identifying the important themes early, enabling companies to make the right investments ahead of the competition, and secure that all-important competitive advantage.

  • Executive Summary
  • Players
    • Table Figure 1: Who are the leading players in the millennials/Gen Z theme and where do they sit in the value chain?
  • Thematic Briefing
    • Differences from previous generations
    • Interest in sport
    • Gaming and esports
  • Trends
    • Table Trends
  • Industry Analysis
    • Market size and growth forecasts
      • Table Figure 2: The sports industry will reach almost $600 billion in revenues by 2025
      • Viewing habits
    • Timeline
      • Table Figure 3: The Millennials/Gen Z story
  • Value Chain
    • Table Figure 4: The millennials/Gen Z value chain
    • Media broadcasting
    • Sponsorship deals
    • Attendance
  • Companies
    • Public companies
      • Table Public companies
  • Further Reading
    • GlobalData reports
      • Table GlobalData reports
  • Our thematic research methodology
    • Table Figure 5: Our five-step approach for generating a sector scorecard
  • About GlobalData
  • Contact Us

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