BY MARTHA KARN
When it comes to college sports, there are some pretty die-hard fans out there, from current and former students to parents and friends of athletes to those who are just really into college sports. These days, there are many ways that college sports fans can follow their favorite schools and teams. First and foremost, there is television, which seems to still be the most popular way to follow college sports, with about 10 times as many fans watching from home than there are season ticket holders. Now, there are also digital channels to watch that are dedicated to college sports. Let’s take a look at some of these digital channels.
Did you know that three out of five college sports fans use Facebook to follow their favorite schools? Out of all of the social media channels, Facebook seems to be the most popular with those who follow college teams. One study shows that Facebook receives about 60 percent of usage, followed by Twitter at 35 percent, YouTube at 31 percent, Instagram at 13 percent, and Snapchat at six percent. These numbers are expected to increase greatly as more and more people are turning to social media to get their sports news. When it comes to social media, it is used in two different ways: brand engagement and content engagement.
- Content Engagement – Content engagement goes beyond simply keeping an eye on the scores. According to Fanhospitality there is always loads of post-game excitement on social media, not to mention the pre-game excitement. Nearly 70 percent of fans love to watch the blooper reels, photos, and highlights, while nearly as many are checking out historic and nostalgic photos. Sometimes you can even catch some live college sports action while using social media.
- Brand Engagement – Brand engagement is how customers are motivated to like and follow brands that support their teams, provide coupons or discounts, support a charity or cause that is supported by the teams, or offer contests with prizes that relate to the sport, team, school, etc. On average, fans use Facebook nearly six times on any given game day. The number for Twitter use is pretty close, and there are more actions taken than simply “likes”. Nearly 50 percent of fans use Facebook and other social media pages to talk about the games, the teams, players, and more. They tend to share nearly 40 percent of brand content, and about 35 percent of fans actually bought the brand.
One of the greatest things about social media is that you have the ability to share things immediately, which is one of the main reasons why people turn to social media to find out how their teams are doing. This is a good way for them to be able to keep up on the score, even if they are not able to watch the games themselves.
Sports Websites and Apps
There are all kinds of popular websites that are devoted to college sports, both sports sites and school sites. Both types of sites are used widely by college sports fans, with about 10 percent more fans using actual sports sites than the school sites. Another popular way to keep up on all of the latest about the various school teams is to use sports apps, which is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, about one in three college sports fans use general sports apps, such as ESPN, or about 34 percent of the fans. One study shows that about eight percent of fans use the apps for their favorite schools, but this may be due in part because many schools do not have their own apps as of yet.
Martha Karn develops online educational courses and writes for students.