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Research: NBA Fans Are Young, Affluent, Mobile

Scarborough study examines America’s 20+ million avid NBA fans

The NBA has (finally) begun its regular season and Scarborough Sports Marketing says professional basketball fans are a prime demographic target for radio sponsors and advertisers.

NAB game attendees are young and affluent. Thirty-four percent of adults 18+ who attended an NBA game in the past 12 months had a household income of $100,000, according to Scarborough. At 37%, Gen Xers, those age 30 to 44, make up the bulk of the avid NAB attendee base, followed by Baby Boomers, age 45-64, at 31%, according to the data.

Attendees were also 86% more likely than all American adults to live in households that own smartphones, e-readers (82%) and iPads (76%). So-called “avid” NBA fans make up 9%, or 22 million, of all adults 18 and over, according to the research firm.

The top local markets for avid NBA fans are: San Antonio (26%), Memphis (19%), Salt Lake City (18%), Los Angeles (17%), Boston (17%), New Orleans (17%) and Cleveland (17%).

Teams are hopeful that fans will return to the arenas now that the lockout is over and regular season play has begun. Thirteen percent of avid fans say they are willing to pay $75 for a NBA single game ticket and according to recent data, 15% of avid fans and 18% of event attendees are interested in buying partial or full-season tickets.

Scarborough Sports Marketing VP Bill Nielsen says “With the league coming back, advertisers and sponsors regain their ability to interact with millions of Americans who love the sport. The draw of NBA events and the enthusiasm surrounding the teams is imperative to the economic growth of the local markets in terms of bars, restaurants and arenas.”

Scarborough Sports Marketing is a division of Scarborough Research, which is a joint venture between Arbitron Inc. and The Nielsen Company.