With College Football in Flux, What Will Fans Watch?





3 men watching sports on tv

It seems like virtually every form of entertainment has been turned upside down over the past few months, and college football is no exception. 

Some teams have committed to trying to play in the fall while some have already deferred to the spring or outright canceled, leaving not only millions of fans waiting, but also leaving over a billion dollars in potential advertising lost. 

That leaves one major question: where will college football fans turn? A recent Roku study offered a little insight, and streaming is a large part of the plan. 

For college football fans missing live action, Roku says they’ll still likely stay in the sports family. Their data shows that, more than fans of other sports leagues, college football fans are bigger fans of sports talk, sports news, and sports documentaries (not college sports programming, but all other sports). 

And fortunately, streaming services have no shortage of sports documentaries.  

Now that we know what these fans will be watching, the question remains of where. It turns out, we already have trends to analyze. From November 2019 to May 2020, fans in the college football “heavy viewer” group (the top 20% of linear TV viewers) decreased traditional television viewing by 31% and increased streaming time by 24%. 

So there’s clearly a move towards streaming among NCAA football fans even when things are normal. But now that action may not return until the spring or perhaps not at all? Less than 20% of recent cord cutters (those who cut this year) say they’re likely to go back to cable even when sports return. 

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