3 February 2017

2017 Super Bowl 51: how will you be watching?

This Sunday American football fans around the world will be tuning in to watch the 51st annual Super Bowl. The New England Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons in the biggest sporting ever of the year – but how will sport fans watch the action?


In the battle between pay TV customers and cord cutters, sport is one of the biggest barriers. Sports fans have been reluctant to trade pay TV sports programming for streaming content online. Sports content is still predominantly owned by pay-tv networks and fans do not want to risk missing out on any of the action by cancelling subscriptions. The recent Rio Olympics highlighted sports’ continued popularity – more than 30 million people tuned in to watch the opening ceremony. Traditional TV provides quality sports viewing and many doubted online streaming services could provide something similar – or better.


However, new research from strategic communications and public relations firm Burson-Marsteller’s Fan Experience sports and entertainment speciality group, suggests allegiances are changing. 55% of participators said they would be interested in streaming games online instead of watching on cable. The growth in watching sports online will be supported by an increase in online interactivity, with both sporting bodies and TV providers encouraging social media use. Super Bowl viewers’ perceptions of the game and how they consume content and communicate with each other on social media are rapidly changing. During 2015’s game, 16.9 million tweets were sent by 3.8 million unique U.S. authors about CBS’ Super Bowl 50 telecast.


“The ongoing transformation of the fan experience is just one instance of a global trend we are witnessing—across the board, consumers are being empowered by technology and demanding better, customisable content,” said Mike Fernandez, US CEO, Burson-Marsteller. “The age of the one-size-fits-all content package is over, and the future belongs to the fans.”


For sports fans, the draw of OTT and streaming is cheaper access to a multitude of channels and events. While social media now acts as a forum to discuss prolific sporting events, live and with other sports fans. The draw of an online community with shared interest could be enough to move sports fans from pay TV to online streaming services. Although, they also value the quality of content and reliable service traditional TV can provide. When watching the closing minutes of a Super Bowl game, viewers do not want to be interrupted by a buffering stream.


How will you be watching? Tweet us @PerceptionTV

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