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TV Is the Only Playing Field for College Football Fans


Aug 2, 2021

The 2021 college football season starts August 28 and fans are anticipating a return to full stadiums; however, according to data from five representative markets in the Local Sports Insights’ Spring 2021 consumer surveys, TV is where very large majorities of fans prefer to watch their favorite team.


Although this correlation is well-established, an analysis of the Local Sports Insights data reveals this combination is where advertisers can engage with younger adults who are often difficult to reach on linear TV programming. 


In the five representative markets, adults 21–34 who are college football fans and watched on TV during the past 12 months ranged from 58.5% in Sacramento to 86.2% in Seattle-Tacoma. 


  • Pittsburgh – 73.1%

  • Orlando – 59.4%

  • Phoenix – 73.7%

  • Sacramento – 58.5%

  • Seattle-Tacoma – 86.2%


Among fans 35–49, the percentages are even larger.


  • Pittsburgh – 85.4%

  • Orlando – 78.2%

  • Phoenix – 87.1%

  • Sacramento – 59.6%

  • Seattle-Tacoma – 78.0%


By comparison, listening to college games on radio is in the single or low double-digits in most of these markets, but of those, 39.3% were adults 21–34 in Sacramento and 32.2% were adults 35–49 in Orlando. This suggests advertisers in some markets may find a combo TV/radio buy to be beneficial.


Advertisers will also be pleased that significant percentages of college football fans in these markets have incomes of $75K–$150K and, therefore, plenty of disposable income.


  • Pittsburgh – 31.4%

  • Orlando – 32.3%

  • Phoenix – 36.2%

  • Sacramento – 37.9%

  • Seattle-Tacoma – 45.1%

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