The professional sports landscape faces serious headwinds with the teens and young adults who grew up simultaneously holding security blankets and smartphones. Generation Z has high expectations for entertainment experiences, and it’s a mistake to believe they will automatically grow to love the same sports as their parents and grandparents. Not only do their tastes in sports differ, they consume them differently than older generations.
Generation Z also tends to focus more on individual athletes than teams or leagues. And that means their loyalties shift as athletes move around in their careers. European footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and U.S. basketball phenom LeBron James, two of the biggest names in global sports, demonstrate this phenomenon.
This presents both a challenge and opportunity for sports properties and marketers as they leverage the power of athlete ambassadors to connect and engage with young fans.
Through Nielsen Fan Insights™, this is what we know will shape the industry going forward.
This report is a collaboration of Nielsen Global Media, the source of One Media Truth™, and Leaders, a global networking organization that specializes in connecting people and ideas through the business of sport. It examines how Generation Z sports fans differ from predecessors in interests, media consumption habits, entertainment preferences and purchase behaviors.