Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB
Labor Day is right around the corner. For many, the holiday signifies the end of summer. For others, it is a reminder that school is back – from grade school to college. As students return, so do sports.
When it comes to school sports, there is a following that is quite different from pro. Whether it is a Little League, high school or NCAA event, there is incredible passion for the team. It creates a sense of community among the fans. Which sports have the highest fan base? College sports.
According to Learfield, a collegiate sports marketing firm, there are more fans of college sports across the country than there are for professional teams or leagues. Their research revealed that in 2021, there were well over 182 million people who had a favorite college team and that 66% of people ages 12 or older considered themselves college sports fans.
Fans want to get the latest updates and information wherever they are and whenever they want it or tune in from wherever they are. We know that sports fans listen to radio. Adults that listened to any college baseball, basketball or football game on the radio in the past year are 218% more likely to consider themselves super sports fans, based on 2022 MRI-Simmons Spring data.
These college sports listeners cover the full spectrum of age groups. Ten percent of these listeners fall within 18-24 years of age, 15% are 25-34 or 35-44 and 17% are 45-54. It is those adults who are 55+ that make up the largest group of college sports fans at 43%.
When it comes to employment, they are 31% more likely to be in some form of management, business and financial position and 28% more likely to be employed within natural resources, construction or maintenance industries. College sports radio listeners yield a high buying power. They are 26% more likely than the U.S. population to have a household income of $125,000 or greater.
There are some great opportunities for advertisers to tap into this spending power. Within the next year, adults who listen to college baseball, basketball or football on the radio are:
- 42% more likely to have a child get married.
- 31% more likely to retire from full-time work.
- 28% more likely to do an exterior addition to their home.
- 17% more likely to take out a second mortgage or equity loan.
- 17% more likely to lease a vehicle.
- 12% more likely to get life insurance.
Radio matters to these listeners and not just for college sports. Sixty percent state that radio keeps them informed or up to date, 58% state that it relaxes them and 57% state that radio puts them in a good mood, but radio does all this and more. Radio connects. It connects advertisers with listeners, listeners to their community and fans with the college sports they follow.