comScore released the results of a U.S. market study of digital media usage related to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The study, which analyzed browser-based (i.e. non-app) page views to the Sports content category, showed that sports fans increased their access across all three primary screens for web content -- PC, media tablet and smartphone -- as they followed the game results.
“The NCAA Tournament, like the Super Bowl or the Olympics, is one of those events where sports fans don’t want to miss a beat of the action -- especially if they can’t be in front of a TV,” said Debbie Bradley, Sr. Director at comScore.
Given the emphasis large advertisers place on these sporting events, it’s important to consider how all media channels can be leveraged to maximize a brand's awareness and its communication with the consumer.
As part of the study, comScore analyzed computer vs. non-computer traffic (predominantly smartphones and media tablets) for the Thursday and Friday of the NCAA tournament compared to the average of the three previous Thursdays and Fridays.
The data showed that nearly double the percentage of Sports category content was consumed on non-computer devices as other content categories.
For all time periods studied, the percentage of Sports category traffic coming from non-computer devices was approximately 20 percent while other categories had approximately 10 percent of traffic coming from these devices. Friday, March 16, the second day of tournament action, saw non-computer Sports category traffic peak at 22.1 percent.
During the first day of opening round NCAA tournament games on Thursday, March 15, total sports-related traffic jumped 79 percent compared to the average of the three previous Thursdays. In comparison, total traffic to all other web content declined by 2 percent.
The most significant gain in sports content consumption occurred via tablet at 94 percent, while smartphone activity jumped 83 percent and computer traffic jumped 77 percent.
Friday, March 16 showed a similar story, though gains were not quite as steep as the previous day across all access screens, probably because of the greater interest in the tournament on the opening day.
However, gains in both smartphones and tablets were notably higher than computers in relation to Thursday, which may reflect sports fans’ greater likelihood of being on-the-go on Friday.
“While all-encompassing media events like the NCAA Tournament might interrupt the content people typically consume, it actually appears that most usage is incremental content consumption,” added Bradley. “When the content is highly time-sensitive -- such as with news or sports scores -- there’s a greater likelihood of it being consumed on-the-go via mobile devices.”