Most sports fans are ready to pay for streaming

Sports viewing habits have already shifted, but new findings released Monday show just how much more they could evolve in the coming years.

Most fans say they would subscribe to a streaming or over-the-top sports channel and would pay more for online streaming than cable and satellite channels, according to a survey by the Center for the Digital Future and ThePostGame. Additionally, mobile devices are growing as a method of sports viewing for younger fans.

"The ability for a team or league to go direct to consumer is really something to watch in the next five years," said David Katz, founder and CEO of ThePostGame.

The results come as sports leagues are already adapting to changing consumer preferences. While traditional broadcast rights for live sports have grown to record levels, leagues have offered more on-demand programming, like subscription packages to all of a team's games for out-of-market fans.

In the latest example of shifting habits, the National Football League announced in April that it would stream its Thursday night games on Twitter during the 2016 regular season.

The survey results show those changes may continue. More than 90 percent of respondents who identified as sports fans said they are willing to pay for sports programming.

Sixty-three percent of fans said they would pay for an over-the-top subscription, while 56 percent added they would spend more of their budget on online streaming than cable or satellite channels. Thirty-two percent of older millennials, from ages 29 to 36, said they would watch an event streamed from a phone on applications like Periscope and Meerkat.

The data also showed some stark differences between younger and older sports fans.

"Younger sports fans are more interested and more open to paying for content than older people are," Katz said.

Younger fans also have a more positive perception of advertising than older fans do, according to the findings.

Additionally, 65 percent of respondents among younger millennials and Generation Z, or the group born after millennials, consume sports content on a mobile device.

The survey took place mostly in January of this year, and the 1,005 respondents were between ages 15 and 74. The margin of error is 3.1 percent.