Online Sports Fans at Work Jump 26%, Women Drive Growth

October 6, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Men | Women

The number of unique visitors to online sports destinations from work increased 26% over last year, growing from 33.4 million in August 2007 to 42.3 million August 2008, according to figures from Nielsen Online.

The increase was driven – in large part – by the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the kick-off of NFL football season. The NBC Olympics website attracted significant traffic at work during the month, reaching 20% of the active at work web population, slightly more than 13.8 million unique visitors.

The breadth of Olympics content that NBC provided online contributed to not only more visits to the site but also longer stays there, with the average visitor spending 57 minutes and 7 seconds over the course of the month, according to Nielsen.

Yahoo Sports was the #1 online sports destination at work in August 2008, with 18.7 million unique visitors, growing 112% year-over-year. ESPN and FOX Sports on MSN took the #2 and #3 spots, with 11.9 million unique visitors and 7.7 million unique visitors respectively.

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Female Visitors on the Rise

The number of female unique visitors at work to sports-related Web sites in August grew 37%, compared with the same period in 2007, outpacing the percent increase in male visitors by 76%.

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The female audience increased from 12 million unique visitors and a unique audience composition percentage of 36% in August 2007 to 16.4 million unique visitors and a unique audience composition percentage of 39% in August 2008.

Fantasy Sports Gain Popularity

The growing popularity of fantasy football also helped drive sports-category growth in August. For the last several years, fantasy sports have been one of the key drivers of consumer engagement in the sports category, and have – in many cases – become more popular than sports coverage itself, Nielsen said.

Among the top 10 sports sites, Fantasy Sports Ventures Network was the fastest growing, increasing 285% YOY, from one million unique visitors to 3.9 million in August 2008.

“With broad interest in the Olympics, and the ramp up of the college and professional football seasons, August was a busy month for online sports fans. The Web offered 24/7 access to news, results and video, and fans demonstrated a healthy appetite for information about their favorite athletes and teams,” said Jon Gibs, VP, media analytics, Nielsen Online.

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