- Young people (ages 13-23) are less likely to identify as sports fans than the general public, particularly baseball and hockey. Fully 47% of this age group says that they are not sports fans, compared to 37% of adults overall. (Morning Consult)
- NH: Don't expect today's kids to care as much when the next major sports league has a Covid-19 outbreak. A new Morning Consult poll found that only 53% of those age 13-23 consider themselves a sports fan. That’s a substantially lower share than the 63% of all adults who report being fans.
- When the poll looked at interest in specific sports, there were substantial differences in what youth versus all adults prefer. The biggest age preference gaps were between fans of baseball and hockey. 50% of all adults claim to be fans of MLB, while only 32% of young adults say the same thing. And when it comes to the NHL, 38% of adults report being fans versus only 25% of young adults.
- The only sport that young adults are significantly more likely to be fans of than the general public is esports. We have often discussed the popularity of video games with younger generations. Gaming fits neatly into the sociable, optimization-driven Millennial/Homelander worldview. And the industry has soared during the pandemic. See “Esports: Put Me In Coach,” “It’s Game on For Esports,” “Esports Continue to Skyrocket.”
- Pro sports face a lot of challenges in trying to engage younger fans. Youth see sports broadcasts as just another show in an endless variety of entertainment options. And when it comes to pro-teams, I have previously commented on the rise of “fluid fans.” Due to sports brands trying to drown audiences in engagement, younger viewers tend to take some interest in many different teams, but have weaker loyalty to any one team. See "Emerging Generation of Fluid Fans."
- Another challenge for the industry is the declining share of kids playing any team sport even on a casual basis. (Today, you are either club team material or nothing.) This weakens the instinctive fascination kids may have in watching pros perform. And with the pandemic canceling many high school sports seasons, this connection could weaken even more. See "Youth Football Participation Takes a Hit."
DID YOU KNOW?
- Restaurants Brace for a Chilling Winter. The numbers are in: Over 100,000 bars and restaurants have closed permanently or are on long-term hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association. That’s about 15% of all U.S. restaurants. In recent months, consumer spending at restaurants has picked up, but it remains well below normal levels. (See “Welcome to the Hard Times Café.”) In August, sales were down an average of 34%. Fully 40% of respondents whose restaurants are still open say they’re likely to close within six months without additional federal relief. And with winter rapidly approaching, restaurant owners face another challenge. With cities like Boston and New York City recently extending outdoor dining through at least December, thousands of owners are scrambling to purchase heaters, new lighting, and tents and hoping diners continue to show up as temperatures drop. Some are investing in sophisticated ventilation systems in the hopes they can sway more patrons to eat indoors.