With sports a core part of many people’s lives, it goes without saying that sports coverage is one of the main drivers of TV and online media consumption and a major platform for advertisers to engage with their audiences. Research by an assortment of media and marketing insight companies conducted over the past 12 months offers a breakdown of what sports fans across Asia are watching.
As might be expected, men tend to be bigger sports enthusiasts than women, but the split narrows in certain markets. Nielsen findings indicate that male viewers comprise more than 50 per cent of the TV sports audience across New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. However, while this peaks in Thailand at 64 per cent, South Korean women are unexpectedly engaged in sporting events, making up 47 per cent of the audience. There are differences in terms of age demographics too. In South Korea and New Zealand, more than two thirds of sports viewers are 35 and over. In much of Southeast Asia, however (Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines), viewership is led by those under 35.
In terms of crowd pulling, football is a dominant force. The top five sporting events viewed on TV in 2011 in both Indonesia and Malaysia were football-related, and the Asian Cup also topped the table in South Korea. Things are somewhat different in Thailand, however: there, the Volleyball Grand Prix was found to draw the most viewers over the same period. And in China, table tennis is as popular on TV, with football and basketball winning out as live spectator sports.
Digital is an important platform for sports in Australia, where cricket was shown to be the most followed sport online. More surprisingly, football (there termed ‘soccer’) was as researched as Australian rules football, and more so than both Rugby League and Rugby Union, indicating that the sport is no longer insignificant in a country with one of the most enthusiastic sporting populations.