Sport is a game of two screens for half of fans

Ireland is ‘nation of second-screen supporters’, says PSG Sponsorship

Robbie Brady celebrates scoring against Bosnia-Herzegovina: people watching on television were also enjoying jokes about the fog on social media. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Robbie Brady celebrates scoring against Bosnia-Herzegovina: people watching on television were also enjoying jokes about the fog on social media. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Ever missed a goal because you were checking Twitter for withering assessments of your team’s performance?

You’re probably not alone. More than half of Irish people dual-screen while watching live sport on television, according to a study by PSG Sponsorship.

Some 55 per cent of sports watchers were in the habit of checking social media or sports websites as the action unfolds, the PSG Sport and Sponsorship Sentiment Index found. This was up from 38 per cent who said they did the same in 2014.

Ireland is “a nation of second-screen supporters”, the sports public relations and sponsorship agency concludes. “The online conversation about sport seems to be as interesting as the event itself to many,” it says.

Facebook is the most popular platform to check while watching sport on television, the nationally representative survey of 1,000 people found, with 70 per cent of the dual-screeners consulting their timelines during a sporting fixture.

Second nature

In 2015, they overtook joke-machine Twitter, which was cited by 30 per cent, while 28 per cent turn to YouTube. Only 1 per cent said they used Periscope.

The findings suggest the “second screen” phenomenon, while second nature to many television watchers since the advent of smartphones and tablets, continued to gain momentum in Ireland last year.

Some 87 per cent of people watch sport live on television, with 60 per cent of men and 49 per cent of women also looking at online sources while doing so.

Dual-screen consumption is common practice among 18-44 age groups with very little variance in the numbers simultaneously consuming TV and online content, PSG Sponsorship said.

It is less common among 45-54-year-olds and the 55-plus age group, with 53 per cent and 33 per cent of people in these age categories respectively consulting social media and sports websites while watching sports on television.

Online conversations

“Big televised sports events such as All-Ireland finals, the Rugby World Cup and the Euro qualifiers are becoming the few occasions that we experience together live as a nation,” said PSG Sponsorship account director Joanne O’Sullivan.

“It is a shared viewing experience and fans are turning to social media to express emotions and share predictions, reactions and opinions in real time. The online conversation is now as much part of the experience as the game itself.”

The number of fans checking social media and sports websites while physically at a game had doubled in the past 12 months, the survey also found, with PSG attributing this to increased smartphone penetration and possible improvements in wifi facilities at stadiums.

As long as it’s not a reflection on the standard of entertainment on offer.