Secrets from the man-cave

As autumn’s leaves begin to turn, the annual migration of the Australian male begins.

In huge numbers, they can be found migrating to the couch or their man-cave to obsess over the performance of their footy team. Often they can be found in large numbers, herding into sports stadiums and pubs, or stampeding across the grassy turf in tight-fit jerseys and shorts.

The earliest record of man’s interest in sport can be found in France’s Lascaux caves, where drawings depict sprinting and wrestling, the origins of which, much like Olympic sports, were designed to equip humans with a greater mastery of their environment.

According to emmaTM, these days men are more likely to master their environment using a remote control or a smartphone. And they are more likely to pick over the bones of the weekend’s sport in newspapers and on their tablets.

Here are three things you might not know about men and sport.

1. Live sport is not so lively Infographic_Men and Sport_Web

Just one in nine men (11 per cent) have been to a live professional sports match in the past month. There are huge variations by state with 17 per cent of Victorians going to live sport compared to only 6 per cent for Queenslanders, and a lowly 4 per cent for Northern Territorians.

In fact, men are more likely to have been gardening (67 per cent), played a board game or cards (25 per cent) or a musical instrument (15 per cent).

Some 47 per cent of men do go to live sport at some stage but the frequency is no more than once or twice a year. It’s a treat, not a habit.

Marketing idea: Make it easier to get men to live sports via promotions and discounts through newspaper sports sections and make it a habitual treat by incentivising them to attend with friends.

2. Your children make you sporty

Contrary to the assumption that parenting eats into discretionary time for sport, fathers are actually more likely to play both team and one-on-one sports (28 per cent vs 22 per cent for men with no children), and they’re more likely to attend professional sports events (61 per cent vs. 55 per cent).

Fathers exercise more, too. Some with 71 per cent take exercise in various forms, compared with 69 per cent of men without children.

Marketing idea: Grass roots sports are as important to fathers as the big ticket items, such as State of Origin and Grand Finals.

Community newspapers provide a unique way to tap into a highly-connected audience of locals with a keen interest in sport, whether barracking for their local team, or seeing their children as potential stars of the future. Indeed, the Newspaper Works’ Local Newspapers Report shows consumers agree their community paper is an important part of the identity of their neighbourhood.

3. Newspaper sports sections hit massive numbers of men

emma is the first audience insights survey to examine branded sectional readership, so we’re now in a position to look at sports sections in detail. emma covers no fewer than 57 of them across both metropolitan and regional newspapers.

It discovers 49% of men have read the sports section in their favourite newspaper in the last 4 weeks*.

The popularity of the sports section holds for weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Men lap up sports news whether it’s match previews, post-mortems or everyday sports star stories.

Newspaper websites and mobile sites make a huge contribution, too. Men who attend live sport have a high propensity to use newspaper mobile sites (index 145)** and the sport sections of newspaper websites (index 131).

Marketing idea: Newspaper sports sections provide significant reach across a broad range of age groups, with 7.3 million people reading a newspaper sports section each month.* Advertising in the uncluttered sports pages is an incredibly efficient and effective way of reaching men of all age groups in the one hit.


You knew men love sport. So we’ve used emma to identify some less well-known facts. Who knew that a Victorian was three times more likely to see live sport as a Queenslander? Or, despite the lack of time, Dads still do more sport than men without children? Plus, for the first time ever, we have data about readership of the sports sections – and it shows 49% of men connect with newspaper sports sections.

* emmaTM Jan-Dec 2013

**five capital city newspaper websites plus The Australian,; emmaTM Jan-Dec 2013

Infographic_Men and Sport_Web


1 comment

  1. Hi, this is a great article with some great insights, however, can you please ensure that you include SA on these kinds of things?


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