Have you ever wondered if all subscribers are the same? Do they think, feel or behave in similar ways irrespective of the type of OTT service they are signed up to? And can the type of service you provide impact subscriber loyalty and longevity? 

In a new consumer study into the Psychology of a Sports Subscriber, Singula Decisions revealed that from a psychological and emotional perspective, there are many similarities between sport and entertainment subscribers. But unlike an entertainment OTT service, sports delve much deeper into the psyche of a subscriber which creates a complicated relationship between the brand and the subscriber.



All sports subscriptions have 3, not 2, parties in the relationship – the subscribers, the brand and the sport. For many subscribers, they only care about the sport… so a brand becomes simply the vehicle to getting to watch their favourite player or team.

It is the sport (and not the brand) that actually fulfils several core human needs for subscribers, which means that are typically less loyal to their sports subscriptions – so can be very fickle, selfish and will naturally leave when any alternative is available. Subscribers will instead blindly follow teams and other fans to new subscriptions when new seasons begin, rather than making independent choices. And churn easily when a sporting season ends, since they feel that nobody is making efforts to keep them and new customer deals are typically much better. 



Human beings have two core psychological drives – for Freedom (both From and Towards something) and for Connection. German neurobiologist Dr Gerald Hüther explains in detail how these early simultaneous drives towards Connection and Freedom to ensure our survival, leave a huge imprint on our collective psyche and inform our behaviours throughout our adult life.

Subscriber behaviours in their relationships with all subscription brands clearly demonstrate a desire to fulfil both of these drives, through their interactions the service as well as through their passion for a certain type of content. But these drives are more noticeable in sports subscribers to a much higher and more intense degree. 

Watching sports has that magical ability to make us feel connected to others, without needing to be physically together! When you watch live sports you just know that many others are watching with you, at the same time, no matter where they are or which continent they are watching from.

Freedom is about that ecstatic feeling of being in the throes of a game when the heat is on and the energy is intense. Sports brands provide subscribers with the ability to ride out this intensity ‘live’ and indulge oneself without remorse.



If brands are simply vehicles to content, this means any other brand could swoop in and take away subscribers once rights are sold on or up for grabs. Brands therefore need to consider how they can cater to these core human drives – not only through the content they offer, but also through how they interact with a subscriber base that is intensely passionate about sports. 

All Sports brands must work much harder to building relationships to counteract disloyalty, in order to ultimately grow revenue, services and subscription longevity. Sports executives must build a brand that goes beyond sport, and this begins by recognising the need to transition from a transactional to a more emotional relationship with each and every subscriber. 

Think differently and take a fresh look at your subscribers by downloading a copy of the new Psychology of a Sports Subscriber report for more info and advice. Click here.