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79pc of sports fans use mobile: study

From checking scores to watching recaps, sports fans are flocking to their mobile devices to keep up to date on their favorite teams, according to a new survey commissioned by Motricity.

In addition to relying on mobile to catch up on content, sports fans are also using their devices in spurts throughout the day, pointing to the need for sports marketers to package content into snack-sized bits. The study also looked at how frequently consumers are accessing sports content.

?From a sports standpoint, audiences are going mobile, and it is challenging and forcing marketers to change the way they think about content,? said Kevin McGuire, vice president of product at Motricity, Seattle. 

?We are seeing mobile adoption start to take off across all types of mobile platforms via feature phones, smartphones and tablets,? he said.

Mobile sport
According to Motricity?s survey, 87 percent of sports fans who use their device to check up on their favorite teams do so at inappropriate times, including social events.

For example, 55 percent of sports fans surveyed said that they had checked their device while at dinner. Similarly, 20 percent of respondents surveyed have used their mobile device to look at sports content while on a date.

Forty-two percent of sports fans look at their devices while at work, and 23 percent access content while they are at the movies.

Fourteen percent of sports fans have used their devices while at church, and 50 percent have used them in a restroom.

Besides accessing sports, the study points to the growing role of a mobile device as the go-to device for content consumption on an everyday basis.

Not only do consumers want to access content on their mobile devices, they also rely on it for their news multiple times per day. 

?Sports marketers need to think about the fact that their patrons have high-powered computing devices, and they expect to get info about the game, replays and share content with their friends and family,? Mr. McGuire said.

In-the-game view
The survey found that when it comes to applications, sports fans were most interested in an app that let them view the game from the perspective of a player. This shows how sports fans are looking to their mobile devices to get an inside look at their favorite teams.

?Native apps take an experience to the next level with content and streaming on a high-quality screen,? Mr. McGuire said.

However, more than just apps are being affected by the sporting industry. Depending on a marketer?s objectives, SMS and mobile Web can still play a prominent role in sports marketing.

SMS in particular can be effective at keeping fans up to date on scores before and after games that can lead to a long-lasting, targeted relationship. Additionally, sports fans expect for their experience to be tailored to their device, making mobile Web a natural way to reach as many smartphone and feature phone users as possible.

Data from Comscore found that 20 percent of sports content viewed during the recent NCAA basketball tournament came from smartphones and tablets, showing how consumers are using their mobile devices as a second or third-screen viewing experience.

?Audiences are going mobile and often in ways that you do not expect,? Mr. McGuire said.

?Mobile is not just a fad ? there is a seismic shift away from print, radio and television towards digital and increasingly mobile as a communication channel,? he said. 

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York