Millennials’ & Gen Z’s Favorite Sport To Watch Shows A Generation Gap

What sports do Millennials and Gen Z most like watching on screen? We found out—and their answers show new sports generation gap…

In Ypulse’s recent survey on sports and athletics—measuring participation, viewership, and fandom among Millennials and Gen Z—we found that about three in ten 13-34-year-olds report watching broadcast sporting events on-screen weekly, and one in five report watching monthly.

Of course, for this group, we did have to specify that “on-screen” can mean “any type of screen: TV, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.” While watching “live on TV” is still the most popular way to consume sports on screen, streaming and social media are undoubtedly forces to watch. As we outlined last week, multiple leagues are making major changes to try to keep up with the next generation of sports viewers—and to reach them on multiple screens. The MLB is dabbling in live streaming games on Facebook, which also recently scored a deal to live stream Champion League Soccer. The NFL is looking outside their traditional playbook to reach young fans with a partnership with AwesomenessTV to create a digital series that “lifts the curtain” to give a behind-the-scenes look at the sport—and is part of a major deal to bring short shows to Snapchat as well. Young consumers’ attention is fragmented across platforms, but also across new entertainment, including e-sports, which almost two in five male 13-34-year-olds say they are avid followers of.

In that same survey, we asked what sports they’ve watched in the last year, what leagues they follow, and what sporting events they’ve watched in the last year—but to find out what sports they’re actually most enjoying as fans, we also asked, “Please tell us the sport that you most like to watch on-screen?”* We ranked their open-end answers, and found…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Art is basically my job and I enjoy it so much.”—Female, 15, MD

Snap is making its “biggest move” in scripted original content, teaming up with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers for their next series. The Duplass-owned creative studio Donut will produce original series for Snap shot in vertical video. NBCU and Snap will also be opening a joint digital content studio focused completely on mobile-first entertainment, “formaliz[ing] their partnership” and putting Snap firmly in the producing/original content creation camp. Snap’s mobile-only approach is part of a movement to shake up how we view videos—in fact, they’re calling their offering “a fundamentally new medium.” (THRTechCrunch)

Eggo frozen waffles are capitalizing on their unexpected Stranger Things’ fame. The brand has seized the marketing opportunity of being a part of one of Millennials & Gen Z’s favorite shows, tying themselves into Netflix’s Super Bowl ad, creating a special toaster for select fans, and swarming New York Comic Con with people dressed up like Eleven armed with “watch party kits” (aka “waffles and a microwavable syrup server”). To prep for the premiere of season two of the show, Eggo is sending out a fully-loaded food truck for the red carpet premiere, and going all out on social media to connect with fans. (MediaPost)

More teens than ever have severe anxiety, but why? The American College Health Association found a 12% increase in undergrads reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 2011 to 2016, and several studies concur that “there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Social media is part of the problem—constant like-monitoring and cyber bullying isn’t helping the most stressed generation to date. There’s also an increasing (and constant) perceived need to over-achieve. One psychology professor observes, “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college.” (NYTimes)

Ypulse research has shown that 88% of Millennial parents are trying to avoid helicopter parenting—but they might not be able to help it. The constant media storm of global atrocities and everyday stories of parenting gone wrong combined with advertisers’ willingness to fear-monger, results in a generation of (understandably) anxious parents. It doesn’t help that the tech to constantly monitor kids is easily available (albeit pricey)—from drone surveillance meant for the military to devices that track “blood-oxygen levels all night long.” One relationship therapist sums up, “Everyone is having a hard time drawing a line and just figuring out what’s reasonable versus what’s over-protective.” (Refinery29)

Brands are turning college students into mini-sales forces. Aerie, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Express are just a few of the many brands that have a program for college campus reps where students receive swag, experience, and other perks for helping bring brand awareness to their colleges. Though brands don’t always require social posts, most ambassadors do share their swag on social, bringing organic ads to their friends’ feeds. The biggest draw is that social posts from reps “[come] across as natural, authentic, a product that they would normally use or want to talk about.” (Racked)

“[Celebrity] can mean anything nowadays and it's a rather diluted term; from YouTube star, to someone on Instagram with millions of followers, to reality TV dopes, etc.”—Male, 30, WI

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