From Award Shows to the Super Bowl, Gen Z’s Viewing of Events is Changing

Exploring how Gen Z is altering how brands/companies host and promote events 

From the Grammys and the Super Bowl to New York Fashion Week, the demand for attention at high-profile events peaks this time of year. Where is Gen Z spending their 8 seconds

We surveyed The Receipt–our Gen Z research network of 8k+ young people to understand better how they’re catching these events. 

Award Shows: A Social Media Affair 

58% of respondents said they get their award show content through social media, compared to only 23% who watched an award show live. 

Major media executives agree that young people are less likely to sit through these award shows from start to finish and instead believe the future of these shows is in short, clippable moments (Forbes). 

“I believe that Gen Z doesn’t watch award shows live anymore simply because the time tradeoff is largely not worth it. Any important moments can be watched through highlights and snippets, and most people don’t care about every award category and every celebrity there — we’re only looking for our favorites.” – Anonymous, 18 

Gen Z lets the internet do the work of amplifying engaging moments like Ariana Debose’s BAFTA performance and Aubrey Plaza and Jenna Ortega’s moody presentation at the SAG Awards. It could be argued that the award show game is no longer about ratings but virality. 

Social media is also making these highly exclusive events feel personal. Through behind-the-scenes red carpet moments captured by creators like Cole Walliser and his glambot camera and relatable influencers like Chris Olsen and Dylan Mulvaney’s trip to the Grammys, social media is becoming the real star of the show. 

Major Sporting Events: Take Me Out to the Ballgame 

In contrast to award shows, half of respondents (49%) watch sporting events live. For major sporting events such as the Super Bowl, more than half of respondents (55%) tuned into the latest game in real-time compared to 23% who caught post-game clips on social media. 

Though this may be surprising at first glance, for many young people, sports events have more of a culture and community when compared to an award show. Cheering on your favorite sports team brings people from all backgrounds together and helps connect cities, countries, and fans through a shared passion. 

“I love watching my favorite teams like the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Raptors play live because I get so invested in the games and feel like I’m a part of the team” – Anonymous, 20

Social media still plays a major role in sporting events as it allows us as viewers, to get more behind-the-scenes looks of the games and players. One of the best examples of this is the Kelce Brothers, with many clips from their podcast being shared across TikTok

“I think it humanizes ‘superhumans.’ Athletes, especially at the pro or Olympic level, often feel untouchable.  In becoming influencers, they show us a window into their ‘real’ or ‘everyday’ lives.” – Annonymous, 22 

Earlier this month, the NFL used social media to amplify the Super Bowl through their TikTok Tailgate at the game, bringing together TikTok stars like Las Vegas Raiders player Isaac Rochell and his wife, Allison Kuch, who provided a behind-the-scenes look into what it’s like playing in the NFL. 

Brands x Events: Create Authentic IRL and Online Moments 

Viewers react to and amplify event content on social media before, during, and after an event has happened. Brands can leverage social media during all stages of an event–from promotion to post-show. 

Gen Z is changing (and, in some ways, shortening) how we watch content from high-profile events. Brands need to innovate to ensure they’re continuing to meet young people where they’re at with moments that create connection within the classic 8-second rule. Because we’ve got better sh*t to do. 

JUV Data Collection (The Receipt): 

Event Consumption: Feb. 10th, 2023 – 110 respondents 

Super Bowl: Feb. 17th, 2023 – 119 respondents 

Noah Wong
Noah Wong is a 20-year-old Consultant here at JUV based in London, Ontario, where he’s currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Health Sciences and Business Administration at Western University. Outside of work, Noah loves to get outside and go hiking in his hometown of Vancouver, BC, rewatch sitcoms and spend way too much money on overpriced coffee.