Last summer, five new sports were successfully introduced at the Olympic Games; the most since 1920. The IOC selected a mix of emerging and established disciplines – mainly urban and youth-oriented – with the aim of maintaining and growing the Olympic fanbase. In the digital age, a sport’s popularity is indeed determined by the ability to continually evolve and capture the public’s attention.
Based on video consumption on its channel, Facebook has compiled a ranking of the most watched sports in 2020, exclusive to this year’s edition of the PwC Sports Survey. While this data cannot be considered the ultimate indicator of success, it provides a great opportunity to debate how different sports stack up against each other, and how their digital presence can develop on one of the world’s leading social media platforms.
At a glance, there’s consistency in the top nine sports, while the gender breakdown shows some variations in preference. Fighting’s high ranking clearly stands out, reflecting the particularly engaging content strategies of sports properties such as the UFC, supported by the strong social presence of the individual athletes involved. For its part, boxing is among the fastest growing sports. A new generation of fights and fighters – driven by entertainment personalities – seems to be overturning the stagnant and political dynamics sometimes blamed on professional boxing.
Source: Facebook | Top 15 sports globally determined by video consumption (3-second views) | 2020 (Note: Esports not included)