Sports are big business. By 2025, the global sports market is projected to reach nearly $600 billion, according to Research and Markets. Whether they pour into stadiums, ballparks, or arenas, or they stream the game from the comfort of home, fans get fired up for their teams. About one-third of sports fans aged 18 to 44 consider themselves to be avid fans, according to a 2022 Statista survey, while about one-quarter of people aged 45 to 65-plus say they are avid sports fans.
Sports enthusiasts are there for it all—the adrenaline, the thrill, and even the heartbreak. Researchers have found that people who identify as sports fans are more satisfied with their lives overall compared to those who aren’t as interested in sports. If their team loses, being part of a community with other fans can help mitigate the disappointment.
While there’s big money in the big leagues, college sports alone are a multibillion-dollar sector. In the U.S., college football and basketball are almost at the same level as professional sports. Some of these sports coaches get paid millions of dollars a year, and universities generate billions from sponsorships, TV deals, and ticket sales, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Youth sports are right on par with the majors. Worth an estimated $19 billion, the youth sports market rivals the NFL, which made an estimated $12.2 billion in 2020, according to Investopedia. By 2026, the youth sports market could reach nearly $77 billion, according to a report from Wintergreen Research.
From youth to college to professional sports, promotional products can be part of the action on game day and beyond. Read on for insight into the sports market and some promotional ideas to put in play for your clients.
People love sports, with 85% of Americans saying they follow at least one sport, according to Mintel research. When crowding into packed arenas wasn’t possible during the pandemic, fans tuned in to watch live sports on TV. Last year, about 57.5 million viewers in the United States watched digital live sports content at least once a month, according to Statista. This figure is projected to increase to more than 90 million by 2025.
One study from Graybo, a cloud video platform for live broadcasts, found that 80% of sports fans around the world are ready to go streaming-only for live sports. Another study from YPulse found that 70% of sports fans aged 13 to 37 believe they don’t need to watch sporting events live.
As fans catch games in different ways, teams and brands can use promotional products to connect with them where they are. They can also use branded items to engage with fans in the off-season. A Deloitte study reveals that 60% of fans say that having a great year-round experience would make them more likely to engage with the team in the coming season, and 55% say it would make them more likely to buy a ticket.
Nothing But Net (Worth)
The average value of the 50 most valuable sports teams surged 9.9% to $3.4 billion in 2021—up 55% from 2016. Here are the world’s top 10 most valuable sports teams:
- Dallas Cowboys: $5.7 billion
- New York Yankees: $5.25 billion
- New York Knicks: $5 billion
- Barcelona: $4.76 billion
- Real Madrid: $4.75 billion
- Golden State Warriors: $4.7 billion
- Los Angeles Lakers: $4.6 billion
- New England Patriots: $4.4 billion
- New York Giants: $4.3 billion
- Bayern Munich: $4.21 billion
Sports Browser ranked the world’s most popular sports using 15 different criteria, including global fan base, TV viewership, and sponsorship deals. These sports rise to the top:
- Soccer/association football: 3.5 billion estimated fans
- Cricket: 2.5 billion fans
- Basketball: 2.2 billion fans
- Hockey: 2 billion fans
- Tennis: 1 billion fans
- Volleyball: 900 million fans
- Table tennis: 850 million fans
- Baseball: 500 million fans
- American football/rugby: 410 million fans
- Golf: 390 million fans
Cost Of Attending Sporting Events
Nearly half of male sports fans (42%) claim to be avid fans, compared to 14% of female fans. More women than men consider themselves casual sports fans (49% compared to 43%).
Source: January 2022 Statista survey
Wealthiest Sports Fans
Want to market to affluent sports enthusiasts? These fans have the highest estimated household assets:
- Tennis fans: $1.19 million
- Alpine skiing fans: $1.12 million
- Wrestling fans: $1.07 million
- Golf fans: $983,000
- NCAA men’s basketball fans: $814,000