According to millennial-focused broadcaster, Whistle Sports, 52% of males aged 13 to 21 prefer to watch non-traditional sports. Gen-Z viewers feel alternative sports are “more relevant to their generation.”
The in-depth report - which is available for free download - also reveals that 65% of Gen-Z males follow non-traditional sports by watching videos on social media networks, and 69% welcome advertisers and sponsors.
One of the sports that is attracting a lot of attention is fantasy football, an imaginary online contest based on real-life events. But the stakes are a lot higher than teams assembled at work or through national broadsheets in the UK.
According to Nielsen, the participation in fantasy sports over the last five years from 8.3 million to 15.6 million. The profile of this particular type of sports fanatic are 18-34 year old males with a post-graduate degree or higher and earn a higher-than-average salary.
New Media In eSports
Up until recently, audiences were getting their alternative sport fix on podcasts. However, as more key players in the digital media landscape get involved in eSPorts, the stage could be set for a revolution.
Earlier this year, Chinese powerhouse Tencent Sports partnered with the Panini Group to launch an app which allows fans to trade cards of football stars and organise activities for fans.
The app works with QR codes so that collectors can physically swap cards using digital devices.
More significantly, the integration connects the markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia which subsequently represents huge potential for advertisers.
Yahoo!, Lexus and Universal Pictures have already jumped onboard the fan fever around fantasy football.
The growing interest around fantasy sports is undoubtedly the cash prizes. Players can win millions in a fantasy football tournament. Even drone racing has a $2m downfall.
Opportunities in Alternative Sports
Daily fantasy sports has subsequently developed into a multi-billion dollar industry and has been adopted by non-profit organisations to encourage sport personalties to support charities within the community.
Digital video broadcasters have already tapped into the growing army of football fans to bring them entertaining programs that retain the non-traditional values of the millennial demographic.
F2 Finding Football for example is a YouTube show that explores the beautiful game in different cultures from around the world. Almost 7 million viewers have tuned in to discover barefoot players in the favelas of Brazil to the rooftop pitches in Bangkok.
Although the interest in non-traditional sports has grown significantly, the industry is still in its infancy and thus opens windows for large companies looking to capitalise on sponsorship deals.
As more video content becomes available, eSports and fantasy sports is expected to gather momentum over the next five years.
Where will you be in five years? Where could you be if you adopt a growing industry today? Take a moment to think about that for a minute.