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Serious Sports Fans Spend More Time Online
07/23/2008 - By Mike Sachoff

Heavy consumers of video

Enthusiastic sports fans account for 19 percent of overall online users and represent a lucrative online audience according to a new report from JupiterResearch.

Since serious sports fans spend more time online, watch more online video and shop more online, sports sites need to integrate the right balance of video and social features into their destinations, the report found.

Twenty-one percent of dedicated sports fans, who tend to be younger males between the ages of 25-34, watch streaming video monthly. With young men being avid fans of online video, sports sites have an opportunity to become leaders in online video.

As an example, ESPN has become one of the top 10 providers of online video, and the NHL's redesigned video section attracted 12.4 million unique visitors in April, an increase of 43 percent over the previous year, according to comScore.

Devoted sports fans also value local media, with local TV, radio and newspapers rating as sports fans top news sources. Local Web sites should not only focus on adding social media and video features, but should look to create a network of local bloggers along with developing spin-off sites.

"To fully tap into this lucrative audience, local sites must make a commitment to search engine optimization and search engine marketing," said Bobby Tulsiani, Analyst and lead author of the report for JupiterResearch.

"During the 2008 NBA Finals, none of the local TV or radio stations ranked among Hitwise's top 10 sites for traffic from the search term 'Lakers' or 'Celtics'."

According to David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch, "Serious sports fans' heavy involvement with shopping and fantasy sports presents an opportunity for revenue streams outside of advertising, such as paid video, ticketing, and merchandising."