Live sports are key to unlocking growth in the highly fragmented streaming market, according to a new report from marketing data and analytics company Kantar.

The report also flags the importance of sports-themed documentaries and dramas for retaining new subscribers.

Live sports key to streaming growth, says Kantar report

Live sports is key to streaming growth

Kantar’s Entertainment on Demand (EoD) Special Report examines the evolution of live sports streaming across the UK, US and Europe.

It says that one in five new video on demand (VoD) subscribers are motivated by live sports. Football is the most popular sport in Great Britain, Germany, France, and Spain, contributing to 51% of sports-driven VoD sign-ups. American football is the leading sporting influence on subscription adoption in the US, followed by soccer, tennis, basketball, and rugby.

The report found that 95% of sports fans in the US opt for VoD streaming, while cable TV penetration has witnessed an 8% decline over two years. The quality of the commentators remains a major differentiator between services.

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European women are 41% less likely to be sports fans than American women. Wimbledon (tennis), Tour De France (cycling), and Formula 1 are the main attractions for women sports fans. Only 10% of European female sports fans are interested in the Women’s FIFA World Cup.

Commentating on the findings, Andrew Skerratt, Global Insight Director at Kantar, said: “Beyond live action, subscribers are looking to watch more than one competition. In Britain, for example, football is king, but rugby, cricket, tennis are also part of the equation when choosing between new subscriptions.”

Skerratt added: “Sports documentaries and behind the scenes stories also prove to be a powerful loyalty driver, as people build more meaningful connections to their favourite (sports) stars and have one more reason to stay on the platform throughout the year. Netflix’s Formula 1 documentary Drive to Survive not only attracted F1 fans, it also expanded the sport’s viewership globally by millions. Delivering value for the household is also vital – nearly one in three households with a video streaming subscription acquired it as part of a bundle deal or promotion that offers ’something for everyone.”

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