We Are Family report asked over 4,300 7-12 year-olds about how they consume sport content

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7-12 year-olds are turning away from live coverage and favour content from official sources, according to a new report from We Are Family. 

Looking at the “Tween” demographic, the Global Kids Sports Report asked over 4,300 7-12 year-olds from the UK, USA, Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Singapore, with all doing a 20-minute online survey before around 100 were chosen for in-depth one to one interviews. It aimed to focus on content consumption and uncovers how sporting bodies, brands and broadcasters can better understand and engage with the next generation of sport fans and retain them as lifelong viewers, players and supporters.

The report found that fandom began at just five-years-old, and by the time children reach double figures they will have likely already chosen their favourite teams and players. We Are Family CEO and global research lead Maurice Wheeler, who spoke at the recent Broadcast Sport Summit, told Broadcast Sport, “It’s almost if you’re not if you’re not on the radar between 7 and 12, you’ll never be on the radar.”

Other insights from the report include younger viewers’ turn away from live content and towards highlights from great sporting moments of the past. Wheeler pointed to the importance of platforms such as TikTok for this turn, and while he didn’t rule out the group from turning to live as they aged, he noted, “They’re definitely not all of a sudden going to turn 18 and go, ’now it’s all about live’. I think that what they’ve grown up with and the media they are consuming, the value that they put on different assets of of content, will stick with them for the rest of their lives.”

The report also found that the age group favoured ‘official’ content, such as that directly from teams, competitions, and sports people, roughly 60% to 40%. In addition, less than 15% of respondents selected both - showing that there are clear preferences between the two.

In terms of channels, 7-12 year-olds 4.7 different platforms-a-week, with YouTube the most popular with 58% using it and traditional broadcasters in second place at 40.7%. Wheeler added: “Broadcasters need to focus on what they can bring to their coverage of live sport to bring a new generation on board. We know that kids love being fans and want to keep up with their team or favourite players, but the way they want to do so is changing. Shorter-form content is winning and outside of knowing who is the most talented (across all sports), they actually want to get under the skin of the people and teams they admire.”

You can register to read the full report here.