Latest YouTube figures show how sports content is turning into lifestyle content

Sport has always been divided into two sections: watching and playing. Playing is a recreational activity or a way to keep fit, but watching has become a form of entertainment.

Over the last few years, though, that entertainment side of sport has become more and more pronounced.

Whereas before, fans would watch the live games and attempt to catch the highlights of the others, now there’s much more to being a fan of sport – certainly when it comes to the biggest sports like the Premier League of NFL. There are fan channels, podcasts, chat shows, expert opinions and plenty of other ways to stay up to date with the action. And the ‘action’ isn’t just the sport – it’s the storyline around it, too.

Playing sport, though, in a way, has become something extra, too.

We’re not just talking about playing football with your Sunday League team in the park or a five-a-side with your friends. Instead, participation has become something much bigger than even that: it’s become a lifestyle choice, something which comes to define people more and more.

Perhaps we’re separating ‘fitness’ and ‘sport’ more and more, with companies like Nike and Under Armour providing apps to aid people with their workouts or diets: fitness is a way of life in a social media sharing world.

Both of these phenomena can be backed up by numbers, now, too.

Whilst it’s clear that there are trends towards people taking up more sport, and also people consuming more non-live sporting content online, Google has given us some hard facts about its experiences of it: YouTube, it says, has seen a 50% growth in watchtime of ‘funny’ sports videos, whilst ‘interview’ videos have seen their watchtime grow by 60%. There’s even been a 90% growth the watchtime for highlights clips, too.

On the other side of the coin, YouTube has also seen growth in searches for ‘how to’ videos, like how to run faster or how to ice skate, showing that people are using the platform as a guide for their own sporting and fitness endeavours.

We know that sports fans use their devices to second screen during live sport, and we also know that non-live content for times other than matchday are very important. What we now know is that sport is taking on a new meaning for many fans: it’s both a means of entertainment and a lifestyle choice – and the viewing habits of YouTube users seem to back that up.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 425 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and a regular contributor to Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan91

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