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US$4.5 billion sports highlights market dominated by YouTube viewing

YouTube has overtaken Facebook as the most popular social platform for viewing sports highlights, with this standalone market estimated at being worth up to US$4.5 billion.

According to a new study from Ring Digital, 53% of Americans use YouTube as a regular way of watching sports highlights compared to 45% who use Facebook. This is a drastic shift from the company’s previous 2017 survey, in which Facebook was used by 63% of respondents compared to 43% who used YouTube for sports highlights.

The survey also found that 30% use Instagram for sports highlights viewing, while Snapchat and TikTok both were at 16%. Twitter meanwhile was only used by 14% of the 1,400 sports fans, and Reddit by 5%.

While the platforms change places, social platforms are still the primary means of watching sports highlights in the US. Almost half (44%) of all respondents said they use social media apps as their go-to for sports highlights – a gain of 10% from 2017. TV Network Apps like NBC Sports meanwhile are only at 28%, though this is also a gain of four points.

Overall, the US total addressable market D2C market for sports highlights is estimated to be worth US$2.7-4.5 billion.

Ring Digital principal analyst Brian Ring, said: “This data shows that social media is still King for sports videos highlights. But the popular destinations have shifted dramatically. YouTube and Instagram rose, Facebook declined.

“The good news for the TV ecosystem is that the TV Networks are still in the game, at least, to monetise premium sports highlights. League Apps have lost ground. Rights holders concerned about re-balancing the dominance and economics of Social Media will see this data as a call-to-action to re-balance content strategies.”