Most sports fans with DVRs record live sports, survey says

Think sports are DVR-proof? A study says 84 percent of sports fans with DVRs use them to record live events, many to time-shift and skip commercials.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
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David Katzmaier
2 min read

As a sports fan with a DVR, I record every game played by New York's Jets, Knicks and Mets, and sometimes I don't start watching until hours after the game's over in real life. It works great, as long as I avoid Twitter and fellow fans who can "spoil" the result.

Turns out I'm not alone. An online survey by Thuuz Sports finds that about 84 percent of sports fans with DVRs use them to record live sports, many as a "backup" for when they might miss the end (or the beginning) of the game. And 58 percent do it to skip the ads. The company works with TV providers to increase the size of sports viewing audiences. It surveyed 1,000 sports fans who have a DVR and subscribe to a TV service.

"Over the past decade, DVR viewing has undermined certain elements of the TV business. Reacting to this threat, sports TV executives have rightly focused on the genre's relative strength, calling sports programming 'DVR-proof,'" Brian Ring, the consultant who created the survey for Thuuz, said in a press release Monday. "Sports are best viewed live, but this survey highlights the fact that most fans with DVRs regularly use them to customize their sports viewing in a near-live fashion."

Thuuz Sports

Most TV shows and movies these days are available on-demand from various sources, but live events, particularly sports, are considered among the most "DVR-proof" since there's more value in seeing the result live. A score is the ultimate spoiler, and immediately disseminated throughout the media when the game ends.

The finding comes amid live-streaming initiatives like the NFL's Twitter and CBS All Access deals, and a week after the launch of AT&T's DirecTV Now streaming TV service. (Disclosure: CBS is CNET's parent company.) None of them offers DVR-ability, unlike a traditional cable or satellite TV service or PlayStation Vue.

Correction, 9:16 a.m. PT: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said 84 percent of DVR owners record live sports. The survey was only of sports fans with a DVR and TV subscription, not all DVR owners.