TV king, but online prince of the before & after phase of viewing says
Joseph O'Halloran | 18-01-2013

Sport dominates European TV yet viewers head online with multiple media devices around sporting events to get the full fan experience, new research from Eurosport has revealed.

Carried out by dres consulting, Eurosport's survey was conducted in October and November 2012 and asked over 4,400 people from the UK, France, Germany and Russia to outline which media devices they used to engage with sport from TV to laptops and tablets to mobiles, how often, and for what reason.

The survey found that as many as 79% of Europeans follow sport in the media in an average week and they consumed higher levels of sport content on a weekly basis compared to other genres such as news, music or documentary.

Not surprisingly, traditional TV remains the medium of choice for sports fans across Europe, with 66% of fans using it as their favourite medium during the action, compared with 36% watching on a laptop or PC and 21% via a tablet. However, online dominates the pre-match build-up and post-match analysis, with almost half (49%) of European fans heading online to message friends, post on social networks, comment in a sports forum or even place a bet. After the final whistle, half of the survey said they used the Web to react to the result, with 30% messaging family or friends and 28% posting on a social network.

A number of national differences emerged regarding the use of social media, with only 15% and 16% respectively of French and German fans using such sites, while in the UK 21% and in Russia 26% of fans take updates from social media.

The survey also showed that sports fans seem to have fully adopted the culture of second screen viewing, with tablet owners in particular consuming more forms of digital media in comparison with other fans. It found that 17% of Europeans and a third of sport fans surveyed (33%) admitted to always using another screen during a live event broadcast, with two-thirds of tablet owners 'multiscreening' alongside a live broadcast. Tablet owners were also found to have sent more messages, made more posts on social networks, commented on sports forums and placed more bets, with 38% of owners using their devices to message friends or family during live sport and 40% using them for messages after the event.

Commenting on the research, Vincent David, Eurosport's deputy director of marketing, said: "This is the first time the media behaviour of Europeans had been studied before, during and after a live sporting event, and the results are fascinating. It was no surprise TV was king, but clearly fans are heading online in a coordinated way, with regularity and with clear patterns of engagement that can only help advertisers and brands plan with more impact and effectiveness around a live event."