NEW YORK, NY – Sept. 30, 2013 – Brands that connect with sports fans on social media motivate consumers to take action, according to the annual Fan Engagement Study conducted by Catalyst, an IMG Consulting Company. Nearly 70 percent of sports fans who “like” or follow brands on social media are willing to take additional action, including purchasing, commenting or sharing brand content.

Fan Engagement Study InfographicFirst commissioned in 2010 and conducted annually, the Catalyst Fan Engagement Study provides insight into the continuing convergence of sports and digital media among sports fans, including year-over-year trends and opportunities for brand engagement.

Fielded by REPUCOM in August 2013, the survey collected information from more than 2,100 avid sports fans aged 16 – 64, measuring the digital media attitudes and usage habits of NFL, NBA, MLB, college football and basketball, and for the first time, soccer fans. This year also marks the first time the study included international data from soccer fans in Brazil and the United Kingdom.

“By keeping our finger on the pulse of an ever-changing media landscape, we’re able to obtain valuable insights on how sports fans consume information,” said David Abrutyn, Senior Vice President, Global Managing Director of IMG Consulting. “This study enables us to identify opportunities and offer solutions that best serve our clients and their customers.”

Key insights from U.S. sports fans include:

While Facebook remains the most widely used channel, fans are increasingly using Google+ and YouTube to disseminate and acquire sports information

Google+ (+94%) and YouTube (+35%) witnessed the largest year-over-year growth

Fans frequently engage with content that advances story lines or provides a point of view

Pre-game excitement (72%), historic video (68%), bloopers (66%), Q&A with coaches and players (66%) and game debate/banter (63%) are among the most popular

Game day social network interaction is on the rise

Fans engage on social channels before, during and after sporting events at a higher rate than ever before. In some cases, engagement is more than 30% higher than compared to 2012

“Content strategy is a major component for any brand, and this study reinforces that sports fans frequently consume and engage with social content that takes them well beyond the box score,“ said Bret Werner, Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Catalyst, an IMG Consulting Company. “Avid sports fans are more likely to interact and identify with brands that act like fans.”

Read the full Sports Business Journal article on the study.