TV programming has a long history of inspiring audiences to get more involved in their passions and pick up new hobbies. In some cases, TV shows have given a lucky few the opportunity to live out their dream jobs, such as Last Comic Standing winner Iliza Shlesinger and Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard.
But TV programming can do more than just fuel internal passions: In the case of docuseries, which are becoming increasingly popular on streaming platforms, Nielsen research has found that they can transform audiences into sports fans.
There’s no short-changing the power of sports and its influence on live TV viewing. Last year, sports accounted for 98% of the top 50 most-viewed programs through September on traditional U.S. TV. And as content creators expand the TV landscape to grow—and attract—new audiences, the world of sports is growing outside of live competition.
While match highlights and recap videos have always provided audiences with a way to catch up with live competition and gain insight into on-the-field action, non-related content, like docuseries are also gaining momentum among viewers—and inspiring them to engage with sports firsthand. In fact, among global audiences, the appeal of content that’s unrelated to a live event is just slightly less than the content that’s directly related to a match or game.
To learn more about the connection between the viewership of docuseries and sports fandom, Nielsen recently analyzed viewership of Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive to see if it inspired U.S. audiences to start watching Formula 1 races. The