Digital Audio

Digital Audio Makes Sports Campaigns A Slam Dunk

Apr 23, 2024

Ready, set, hike! Over 66% of Americans ages 13+ consider themselves sports fans, equating to a whopping 186M people. And for most of them, audio has always played its part in the excitement of the game. When those two worlds collide, the experience is a game-changer for fans and advertisers alike. How, you might ask? By transforming the vast world of sports, allowing people to find community, get to know their favorite players, and electrify their game-day experience—creating a cultural phenomenon on and off the field and across the globe.

To better understand audio content's role in sports fandom and how advertisers can benefit from it, SiriusXM Media and GroupM created a thought leadership study, conducted by Edison Research. This study is a first of its kind, diving deep into how listeners consume sports audio on podcasts, satellite, and radio shows. So, lace up those cleats and grab your whiteboard because these results will help you hit all your sports campaign goals.

Listeners are Calling a Time-Out on Radio 

From the invigorating roar of the crowd to the witty commentary of broadcasters, audio enhances the sports experience—and the fans are all in. Thanks to digital audio, advertisers can connect with sports fans who turn to our platforms to find connection, trusted information, and variety. Sports fans tuning in to the SiriusXM Podcast Network or SiriusXM get to hear the content they want, from the voices they trust, and traditional radio is becoming a thing of the past. 

Sports listeners spend six hours and 26 minutes listening to audio each day—over two hours more than the average American. They’re leaning on the trustworthiness and relatability of beloved broadcasters and podcast hosts, and ditching the scattered landscape of AM/FM radio. Advertisers have a huge opportunity to make an impact in these spaces, as the traditional consumption of sports content is quickly evolving.

Score with satellite

When big sporting moment happen, SiriusXM channels see a surge in listeners. In fact, 66% of sports audio listeners say they listen to hear unique perspectives on sports that aren't covered in other media, while another 60% listen to get exclusive content. Even better, 57% of listeners recommend a product to friends and family and 63% gathered more info about a company or product after listening to a sports audio program. Partnering with SiriusXM Media means you get access to the hottest shows when audiences are fired up about exciting events like these:

  • SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio saw a +37% increase in listeners compared to the month prior, due to the All-Star Game. 

  • March Madness produced a +23% increase in live listeners on SiriusXM, led by college basketball & spring training coverage​. 

Podcasts for the win

Time spent listening to sports audio has dramatically shifted from AM/FM radio to podcasts in the past eight years. We saw a +88% lift in podcast listening and a -20% drop in AM/FM radio listening from 2015 to 2023. Podcasts give listeners the opportunity to peek behind the curtain and get an unfiltered look into the lives and minds of athletes. Historically, post-game press conferences were the place where fans could get up-close and personal with their favorite athletes. Like when Steph Curry introduced the world to his family, or when Mike Tyson gave us a look into the mind of a fighter. 

With podcasts, hosts often build strong relationships with their listeners through regular, intimate conversations. These relationships create a sense of authenticity and trust, and when hosts endorse a product or service, it carries a weight that traditional ads might lack. Advertisers can benefit from this trust by integrating their messages seamlessly into podcast ads, making the audio feel like a natural extension of the content. Check out the influence we found in sports podcasting on our platforms:

  • 78% of listeners have taken an action after hearing an advertisement on a sports podcast or sports audio program.

  • 55% purchased a product or service.

  • Sports podcast listeners spend an average of $321 on sports merch/memorabilia in a year, compared to just $185 for sports video viewers.

Put athletes on your roster

Beyond their skills on the field, court, or track, athletes bring a unique blend of authenticity, inspiration, and relatability to ads that advertisers can harness for their brand. And fans like hearing their favorite athlete in advertisements; we found that 76% of SiriusXM sports listeners and 81% of sports podcast listeners prefer it.

Fans are investing time in getting to know athletes’ personal lives and the products or services they rely on—43% of sports fans say they closely follow the personal lives of the athletes they like. So when your brand messages come from the players they feel connected to, that connection extends to your brand. 

Be heard during major sporting events

Sports fans contribute to the vibrant and dynamic atmosphere that makes sports the cultural phenomenon it is. Their passion, loyalty, and engagement make the sports experience richer, and with listeners having more trust in your ads, they’re likely to take action. Let’s take a look at the spectrum of sports fans:

No matter how big of a fan you are, major sporting events have a place in nearly every household across the country. League championships like the Super Bowl have 89% of the country tuned in, and we see lifts in listening across our platforms. Usher’s Super Bowl halftime show created a +81% increase in listeners and a 528% increase in Usher stations on Pandora in February of this year. Meaning when it’s time for a big game, listeners are tuning in to our platforms and hearing your ads. 

Go for Gold With SiriusXM Media

SiriusXM has long been a leader in sports audio. We’re the official partner of six professional leagues, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, and more. SiriusXM also offers 20+ talk channels, providing the sharpest analysis and news across all sports and live play-by-play broadcasts for every game. 

Our sports podcast slate will help brands score points with the one in two sports fans who listen to podcasts. The SiriusXM Sports Podcast Collection offers advertisers access to 300+ sports podcasts that have an average of 17M monthly downloads. Meaning you can get an +80% incremental reach by adding SiriusXM to your podcast campaigns.

Is your brand in the game? Let’s strategize.


  • 1.

    Sports Audio Report, SiriusXM, GroupM, Edison Research

  • 2.

    Edison Research Share of Ear, Q4 2023

  • 3.

    Pandora Internal Metrics

  • 4.

    SiriusXM Sports Collections Process Guide Q1-Q2 2024

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