TV Sports: More than Just a Guy Thing

Ipsos-Reid Study Examines TV Sports Viewing Habits

SAN FRANCISCO, June 7, 2001 - It's not just men who love to watch TV sports. Women around the world are getting in on the act, too, according to international research firm Ipsos-Reid.

A survey of adult consumers in 34 countries reveal that 93% of men who watch TV tune in to sports. Among women, the number isn't all that far behind, at 83%. (This study looked at TV sports preferences only; a similar study will be repeated this summer with additional questions about sports participation and interest in sports around the world as a lead into next year's Olympics.)

What men and women are watching, however, is rather different. Men are attracted primarily to soccer, American football, car racing and boxing. Women are more likely than men to watch figure skating, tennis, gymnastics, athletics, volleyball and swimming, although some women are also tuning into soccer and American football. But both sexes share the same passion for baseball and basketball, as well as hockey and golf, the research found.

"While there are some sports that appear to have broached the gender divide, women and men in living rooms around the world may still be fighting over the remote when it comes to televised sports," said Melanie Dowe, a senior vice-president with the company in San Francisco. "The fact that women prefer watching sports like figure skating, tennis and gymnastics may highlight the appeal of female role models in sport- something lacking in the American football, car racing and boxing coverage preferred by men.

"The study also highlights the wealth of opportunity for advertisers to target both genders via televised sports coverage. Sporting events around the world have captured the attention of a vast majority of people. While baseball and basketball appeal to men and women alike, advertisers can accurately tailor their messages to specific audiences across a much wider variety of sports than ever before."

Overall, soccer reigns as the world's favorite TV sport, notes Ipsos-Reid in its latest quarterly study of international trends and opinions, Global Express. Soccer ranked highest in 24 of 34 countries and is especially popular in the urban markets of Brazil, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand, as well as in Turkey and Egypt, where at least half of respondents named soccer as their top TV sports choice.

The greatest TV sports fans are in South Korea (96% are armchair athletes), urban China (95%), urban Russia (95%) and urban Thailand (95%). In urban Colombia, Germany and the United States, the figure is slightly lower at 91%.

In contrast, in Taiwan and Turkey one-third and one-quarter of adults respectively don't tune into television sports at all.

What's hot where soccer is not tops?

  • Cricket is the favorite choice in urban India (watched by 64% of TV sports enthusiasts).
  • Basketball is tops in the Philippines (59%).
  • Baseball gets top mention among the Japanese (45%).
  • Swimming is the TV sport of choice in the Netherlands (34%).
  • American football ranks highest among Americans (33%).
  • Figure skating tops the list in urban Russia (26%).
  • Ice hockey is favoured by the Swedes (25%) and Canadians (23%).
  • Tennis (13%), rugby (11%), and soccer (10%) rate almost equally in terms of popularity among TV sports fans in Australia.

About Ipsos-Reid

Ipsos-Reid has been tracking public opinion around the world for more than 20 years and has become a leading provider of global public opinion and market research to private, public, and not-for-profit organizations in over 50 countries. It is a member of Paris-based Ipsos Group, ranked among the top ten research groups in the world.

The Global Express Research Methodology

These international survey research data were collected via Ipsos-Reid's Global Express, a quarterly international omnibus survey. Fieldwork was conducted between November and December 2000. Data are based on individual surveys taken with a random sampling of adults (usually 18+) across 33 national markets. The target sample size in each country was 500, except for the United States where 1,000 interviews were conducted. Within each country, the survey results can be said to be within 177 4.5 percentage points of what they would have been had the entire adult population been surveyed; 177 3.1 percentage points in the United States. In 18 of these 33 surveyed countries, the samples provide full national coverage; in these countries the data were collected via randomized telephone interviewing, with the two exceptions of Malaysia and Poland where in-person door-to-door interviewing was used. Door-to-door interviewing was also conducted in 11 of the non-national samples where the coverage was limited to the largest cities. These urban samples included Brazil (5 cities), Chile (11 cities), China (5 cities), Colombia (17 cities), India (17 cities), Indonesia (7 cities), Mexico (5 cities), Peru (3 cities), Russia (all cities with populations >20,000), (South Africa (11 cities) and Thailand (9 cities). In-person interviewing was used in the final four countries--Argentina, Egypt, Philippines, and Turkey--where the coverage was primarily urban, but included a rural component ("quasi-national" coverage).

For further information on this survey, please contact:

Melanie Dowe Senior Vice President and Managing Partner Ipsos-Reid (415) 274-8921

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