Washington Post

Sports has a Gen Z problem - The pandemic may accelerate it

Ted Leonsis, left, and his son Zachary watch a Wizards game in early 2020. Photo: John McDonnell/Washington Post

On any given night, in living rooms across America, the television could be tuned to the big game, mom and dad glued to the action, children nearby. But as most any parent can attest, those children are likely to be virtually somewhere else - an app, a game, a social media feed, perhaps, lost in a smartphone where the scrolling never ends. The big game serves as background noise, if that.

The bulky and bankable U.S. sports industry, built on towers of cash and lucrative television contracts, is confronting a Generation Z problem. The nation's youngest cohort is fundamentally different from the generations that preceded it. Having grown up with smartphones in their pockets, its members eschew traditional television-viewing and subscribe to digital habits that make grooming a new generation of sports fans a challenge...

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