The surprising thing sports fans are looking for on YouTube

Gina Shalavi November 2018 Video, Sports

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll know there’s nothing more exciting than the thrill of watching your favorite team play live. But while real-time action is important, we’ve started noticing an interesting new sports fan behavior on YouTube: Increasingly, viewers are watching sporting events from the past.

84% of soccer fans on YouTube say they watch past World Cups or other soccer games

According to Ipsos, 84% of soccer fans on YouTube say they watch past World Cups or other soccer games,1 and 68% of Olympics fans on YouTube say they watch past Olympics or games/competitions of specific Olympic sports.2 In fact, it’s something we’re seeing across every sports category: People are watching more historical footage of their favorite sports now than they were five years ago.3

What’s driving this penchant for sports nostalgia? That’s hard to say. Although the types of videos people are choosing to watch suggest they’re longing to relive their teams’ glory years. For example, on YouTube, 70 of the top 100 sports videos have “great,” “greatest,” or “best” in the title.4

What this sports fan behavior means for brands

Brands wanting to capture the attention of sports fans should take note of these viewer behaviors, because they have implications for marketers. In fact, it’s not just sporting highlights that people are looking up. Over the past two years, we’ve seen a 3X increase in searches for Big Game ads on YouTube.5

3X increase in searches for Big Game ads on YouTube in the past two years

But people don’t want ads that interrupt and disrupt them, which is why it’s never been so important for marketers to understand what makes their audiences tick. So whether you’re preparing for huge moments like the Super Bowl or looking to connect with sporting fans throughout the year, consider tapping into people’s appetite for nostalgia.

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