In 2016, MLB experienced its average viewership age rise to 57, up from 52 in 2006. But the problem isn't exclusive to baseball. The NFL also saw a "greying" of its viewership to an average age of 50 up from 46 in the same time span, according to an article published June 6, 2018 on AdAdge.com.
So what can teams do about it? Number 1 is to understand how this next generation likes to be communicated with and courted as potential customers.
To Gen Z, the smartphone isn't an add on or an enhancement - it's a right. They were born with the device and they expect to use it to accompany every activity in their everyday lives. Today, 65% of kids watch their favorite shows and sports on streaming services and mobile devices. So participating in a second screen prediction experience while watching live sporting events will be a natural fit for this influential next generation.
Both Millennials and Gen Z value a personal and authentic experience and want to capture moments of their daily lives. When teams can recognize, congratulate and contribute to their fans' personal storytelling, these fans are more likely to share that content across their vast social media networks. This includes fan experiences like player meet and greets, special lounge or hang areas within stadiums, not necessarily in their seats, and an interactive, well-connected, multi-media stadium.
After all, it's this third-party affirmation and endorsements of companies by its fans, industry influencers, critics, taste makers and brand ambassadors that holds more weight in the eyes of Millennials and Gen Z than traditional advertising channels.
And with so many entertainment options available to today's youth, sports team adoption isn't as assumed and automatic as it was for their parents (who had fewer media and entertainment options growing up).
Studies show that kids who attend a major sporting event by the age of 6 will go to 58% more sports events per year for the rest of their lives than kids who weren't exposed at that young age. So it's crucial that local and professional sports organizations have a strategy to imprint upon these younger audiences now, so that they are more likely to grow up to become revenue-generating fans.
For more information or to learn how Micro Fantasy can help your team achieve it's fan experience and sponsorship revenue goals, contact Karri@MicroFantasy.com.