May 11, 2001

It's not just men who love to watch TV sports.

Women around the world are getting in on the act, too, according to international research firm Ipsos-Reid.

A survey of adult consumers in 34 countries reveal that 93% of men who watch TV tune in to sports. Among women, the number isn't all that far behind, at 83%. (This study looked at TV sports preferences only; a similar study will be repeated this
summer with additional questions about sports participation and interest in sports around the world as a lead into next year’s Olympics.)

What men and women are watching, however, is rather different. Men are attracted primarily to soccer, American football, car racing and boxing. Women are more likely than men to watch figure skating, tennis, gymnastics, athletics, volleyball and swimming, although some women are also tuning into soccer and American football. But both sexes share the same passion for baseball and basketball, as well as hockey and golf, the research found.

"While there are some sports that appear to have broached the gender divide, women and men in living rooms around the world may still be fighting over the remote when it comes to televised sports," said Melanie Dowe, a senior vice-president with the company in San Francisco. "The fact that women prefer watching sports like figure skating, tennis and gymnastics may highlight the appeal of female role models in sportsomething lacking in the American football, car racing and boxing coverage preferred by men."

The study also highlights the wealth of opportunity for advertisers to target both genders via televised sports coverage. Sporting events around the world have captured the attention of a vast majority of people. While baseball and basketball
appeal to men and women alike, advertisers can accurately tailor their messages to specific audiences across a much wider variety of sports than ever before. Overall, soccer reigns as the world's favorite TV sport, notes Ipsos-Reid in its latest quarterly study of international trends and opinions, Global Express. Soccer ranked highest in 24 of 34 countries and is especially popular in the urban markets of Brazil, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand, as well as in Turkey and Egypt, where at least half of respondents named soccer as their top TV sports choice.

The greatest TV sports fans are in South Korea (96% are armchair athletes), urban China (95%), urban Russia (95%) and urban Thailand (95%). In urban Colombia, Germany and the United States, the figure is slightly lower at 91%.

In contrast, in Taiwan and Turkey one-third and one-quarter of adults respectively don't tune into television sports at all.

What's hot where soccer is not tops?

• Cricket is the favorite choice in urban India (watched by 64% of TV sports
enthusiasts).

• Basketball is tops in the Philippines (59%).

• Baseball gets top mention among the Japanese (45%).

• Swimming is the TV sport of choice in the Netherlands (34%).

• American football ranks highest among Americans (33%).

• Figure skating tops the list in urban Russia (26%).

• Ice hockey is favoured by the Swedes (25%) and Canadians (23%).

• Tennis (13%), rugby (11%), and soccer (10%) rate almost equally in terms of popularity among TV sports fans in Australia.

For more information at http://ipsos-reid.com.

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