Sports: The mobile content pioneer

Sports coverage may lead the way in mobile usage for real-time news and information. If statistics for athletic coverage demonstrate anything, it is that mobile access will likely be top-of-mind for other types of news coverage as well.


In many ways, sports are determining the development of media.

The technical equipment is awesome when covering a sporting event. If you follow a golf tournament on Sky Sports, you will get live (!) analytics of hits and swings. The BBC developed snooker as a fancy sport on television.

In former days, newspapers’ main service on Mondays was to collect sporting event results, show tables, and analyse the background information. A post-sports weekend without a newspaper? Inconceivable!

We all know newspapers lost their mighty position as the information leader and monopolist. By using real-time channels like TV and the Internet, the user gets what he demands: near live results and near live analysis and backgrounds.

The football World Cup 2002 game with South Korea and Japan was the first hint as to where football coverage specifically and sports coverage in general would move. Based on the kick-off times (around noon and early afternoon), Internet usage exploded. But the traditional monopolists didn’t cover this event on the Internet: no live tracker, no live radio.

After the 2014 digital football World Cup record announced by Twitter (35.6 million tweets for just the Brazil vs. Germany game), we are just about to start the new international football season.

And this year mobile will kick the fixed line Internet!

The latest statistics, from July 2014, regarding two of the largest sports brands in Germany shows where the train will go:

  • 30 million visits online vs. 32 million visits mobile.
  • 29.5 million visits online vs. 33 million visits mobile.

The switch to mobile is not only driven by stats and news. Sports live streaming is becoming more available on the mobile Internet. You can follow not only the first leagues but also the minor leagues, as well as sports not covered by television, like badminton, via your smartphone.

This is offered by bookmakers and digital sports companies like Sportal in Switzerland, which acquires keeps acquiring more rights and building sports content verticals.

Mobile usage will not stop with sports; the user will access all news sections — economics, politics, entertainment, and culture — on his mobile device first.

Editorial teams and product development teams should focus their organisation on mobile first. They should ask themselves every day and every minute: What can I do to reach the mobile user in this moment? And the answer is maybe the most complex one ever!

Don’t waste a second. Start now!