The coronavirus pandemic has already derailed the seasons of three of America’s premier sports leagues, and it looks like most fans are understandably unsatisfied with watching reruns of old games.
According to a CivicScience survey of more than 2,000 American sports viewers age 13 and older, less than one-fifth say they’re turning to alternative sports-related content — including reruns of past games, sports talk shows, and more — to replace watching live games on TV.
Among those who are watching sports-related content to satisfy their live sports fix, it seems that watching reruns of old games is much more popular than watching eSports, sports talk shows, or sports movies / documentaries.
Normally, April is an exciting nexus of three of America’s top four sports leagues: the NHL and the NBA are gearing up for their playoffs, while the MLB begins its race for the World Series pennant. With the entire sports world on hold, though, it’s fair to wonder whether the fans of each league are filling the void in a unique way. (We threw in NFL fans, too, just for good measure.)
It turns out that NHL fans were the most likely to tune in to non-sports programming to pass the time, while NBA and MLB fans were more likely than other fans to watch taped broadcasts of old games. NFL fans were somewhere in between.
Male sports fans were more likely than female sports fans to watch taped / re-broadcasted games, while women were nearly twice as likely as men to replace live sports with sports-related documentaries and movies.It may not come as a surprise that watching past sporting events rose in popularity alongside age, or that the inverse was true with watching Esports. However, it is interesting that the habit of continuing to watch sports talk shows even during the coronavirus pandemic peaked in popularity among Gen X, and that most of Gen Z doesn’t seem to be at all interested in watching sports movies or documentaries.Surprisingly, among sports fans, those who say they attend a sporting event at least once per month were less likely to say they’ve been watching taped sports than those who only occasionally or never attend games. It would seem that the taped version just can’t compete with the real thing. As the coronavirus crisis continues to freeze out the world of pro sports, it’s clear that most sports fans are turning to other pursuits as they hunker down indoors — mostly non-sports movies and TV.