FIFA undervaluing online World Cup rights

Research from the Global Web Index has revealed the massive potential for generating revenue from online sports rights. The survey of 16,000 Internet users includes people in many of the countries who will be taking part in the tournament in South Africa including the USA, England, Mexico and South Korea.

This year's football World Cup will be the first where mass market online video streaming is a reality across the globe. Typically online rights are bundled with the TV deal as an add on‚ but the Global Web Index shows that these rights are seriously undervalued, with FIFA potentially missing out on millions in revenue. The research shows there is already massive take-up of sports highlights and full length programming online. The Chinese lead the way where thanks to video platforms such as Youku and Tudou that carry full length programming as standard, 35 per cent had watched full length programmers online in the last month and 27 per cent had watched sports highlights. Other countries are not far behind.

More crucially there is huge, untapped potential for monetising streamed sport content. When asked what method of accessing live sports streams, there are very interesting differences in behaviour by country. Sports fans in India, South Korea, China, Mexico and Italy are most likely to choose to pay for their fix. Indians are most likely to pay to enjoy streamed sports without advertising (37 per cent) followed by South Koreans (32 per cent). In direct comparison, those living in the US and European markets in the study prefer free access, with ads. However there is still a very large interest in paying, and one that if monetised could be far more lucrative than the advertising revenue. It is a similar picture for watching clips of sporting highlights.

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